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Story of the Niger
Ruins of the Cottage at Fowhhiels, near Selkirk,
in which Mungo Park was born.
Gbomas IRelson ano Sons,
LONDON, EDINBURGH, AND NEW YORK.
STORY OF THE NIGER
A Record of Travel and Adventure
From the Days of Mnngo Park
To the Present Time.
IRobert 1Ricbarfcson t
Author of " Adventurous Boat Voyages," "Almost a Hero,
" Ralph's Year in Russia,"
With 31 Illustrations
T. NELSON AND SONS, PATERNOSTER ROW.
EDINBURGH ; AND NEW YORK.
This Story of the Niger is a rapid summary of
facts. The material upon which the narrative is
based is found scattered over many bulky volumes,
such as few readers would have either the leisure or
the inclination to attack. But it has been thought
that, from the intrinsic interest of the story, a brief
continuous narrative might prove acceptable to all
who love a tale of travel and adventure. The story
in these pages is essentially that told by the actors
in the drama themselves, and is such as demanded no
decoration at second hand. What has been aimed at
was simply to collect all that was most striking and
interesting, most pathetic or most humorous, and to
weld the whole together in a consecutive and trust-
Attention may be called specially to the Sketch
Map of the Basins of the Senegal and Niger, showing
Mungo Park's intended route on his second expedi-
tion to Central Africa, which is here reproduced in
facsimile from the original drawing made by the
traveller, and presented by him to his niece, Miss
Jane Park. R R
I. AFRICAN DISCOVERY PREVIOUS TO PARK, ...
II. park's FIRST JOURNEY, ...
III. park's second journey,
IV. clapperton and the landers, ...
V. EXPLORATION OF THE NIGER AND BENUEH,
VI. CAPTAIN GALLIENI'S EXPEDITION TO THE UPPER NIGER,
VII. DR. BARTH'S TRAVELS, ...
VIII. MR. THOMPSON ON THE NIGER,
^Mist of ^lustrations.
MUNGO PARK SEEING THE MOSS IN THE DESERT, . . . . Frontispiece
RUINS OP THE COTTAGE AT FOWLSHIELS, NEAR SELKIRK, IN WHICH
mungo park was born, . . . . . . . . Vignette
MAP OF CENTRAL AFRICA, SHOWING THE BASIN OF THE NIGER AND
ADJACENT COUNTRIES, . . . . . . . . . . Xiv
MAP OF PARK'S TRAVELS IN AFRICA, WITH THE COURSE OF THE NIGER, 23
MUNGO PARK'S FIRST SIGHT OF THE NIGER, .. .. 43
TOWN HOUSE OF THE SOMONOS OF SEGO, ON THE NIGER, .. .. 47
THE NEGRO SONG, . . . . . . . . . . . . 51
A LION IN THE WAY, . . . . . . . . 59
MEAT-MARKET AT YAMINA, ON THE NIGER, . . . . . . . . 63
BAMBOO BRIDGE ACROSS THE BAFING, . . . . . . . . 75
FACSIMILE OF SKETCH MAP OF MUNGO PARK'S INTENDED ROUTE IN HIS
second expedition to the nioer. — From a Drawing by himself, . . 87
river scene in western africa, . . . . . . . . 107
king obie's visit to the "alburkah," .. .. .. 123
french expedition against the toucouleurs, .. .. .. 159
gallieni's expedition on the senegal between matam and bakel, 165
fire on the left bank of the bakhoy, near demba-dioube, . . 179
village of solinta, on the bakhoy, . . . . . . . . 183
forest near the bily falls, on the bakhoy, . . . . . . 191
the refractory ass-drivers, . . . . . . . . . . 195
improvised bridge over the kegneko, .. .. .. 201
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
REVIEW ON THE PLAINS OP KITA TO CELEBRATE THE TREATY OF PRO-
TECTORATE WITH FRANCE,
CROSSING THE BANDINGHO,
RETREAT OF GALLIENl's EXPEDITION FROJ
TORNADO IN THE BIRGO COUNTRY,
MARKET AT SOKOTO,
ENCAMPMENT OF SHEIK BL BAKAY,
A NUPE VILLAGE,
FILLANI NOBLEMAN AND ATTENDANTS,
VIEW IN SOKOTO,
STORY OF THE NIGER,
AFRICAN DISCOVERY PREVIOUS TO PARK.
From very early times down to the present day
Africa has exercised a fascination for the traveller :
no weaker word will so well serve to express the
truth. At this moment no other land seems to pos-
sess such a spell for the discoverer — not even the
regions of the North Pole. The two geographical
secrets which our modern explorers, land and mari-
time, most covet, are probably the discovery of the
remaining sources of the Nile and the discovery of
the North Pole.
To the ancients, Africa was a land of mystery and
marvel ; and though every year now sees some new
region in its vast territory opened up and reclaimed
from darkness, it is to a large extent a land of mys-
tery and marvel still. It still offers to the explorer
an unrivalled field for discovery and adventure.
16 AFRICAN DISCOVERY PREVIOUS TO PARK.
The nations of antiquity were, however, perfectly
well acquainted with the northern portions of Africa —
those bordering on the Mediterranean Sea, and in-
cluding Carthage and Egypt. It was in respect to
the regions beyond this circuit that their knowledge
was vague and conflicting. South of the countries
skirting the sea-board extended the immeasurable tract
of desert now known as the Great Sahara, whose vast-
ness and appalling desolation were for long sufficient
to daunt the most adventurous spirits, checking the
advance alike of the conqueror and the traveller.
The interest attached to early African discovery
may be said to centre in the river Niger. When the
attention of modern European nations began to be
turned towards Africa as a land offering rich oppor-
tunities for the acquisition of territory, and the in-
crease of national wealth and power, it was quickly
seen that the Niger formed the natural highway to
the heart of the country ; and to hold the secret of
the mighty river, to trace and follow its course
throughout its whole vast extent, became the chief
object of ambition among the discoverers of many dif-
Among the earliest historical references — probably
the earliest reference — to what modern geographers
have supposed to be the Niger, is to be found in an
account given by Herodotus of a journey made by
five young Nasamones of noble birth and ardent spirit,
AFRICAN DISCOVERY PREVIOUS TO PARK. 17
who may be regarded as having formed the first Geo-
graphical Association. After a long and adventurous
journey, the travellers came upon a great river flow-
ing from west to east, on whose banks dwelt a nation
of small black men. This river Herodotus without
hesitation declared to be the Nile. That it was not
the Nile is certain ; and even that it was the Niger
is a disputed point among those who have most closely
considered the question. It has been contended by
some writers that the young Nasamones, by following
the course described by their historian, could never
have reached the Quorra or Niger ; while others main-
tain that such a goal to their journey was quite pos-
sible, and that the city which the travellers found on
the banks of the river, peopled by a diminutive race of
black men, was no other than Timbuctoo.
Mention is made of the Niger by both Strabo and
Pliny, the former briefly, the latter at great length.
Pliny adopts the idea of Herodotus that the Niger was
one and the same river with the Nile ; but when
Ptolemy comes to treat the subject he directly con-
troverts this theory, though, from lack of accurate
knowledge, he offers nothing in its place save vague
We learn a good deal of the geography of Africa
from Arabian writers, but very little that is either
accurate or even suggestive in regard to the river
Niger. The Arabs at one time exercised a great in-
18 AFRICAN DISCOVERY PREVIOUS TO PARK.
fluence over Africa — planted colonies, built cities, car-
ried on an extensive commerce with the natives in
gold and slaves, and finally established themselves as
the dominant power in the land. The most famous
among Arabian travellers was Ibu Batutu, a Moham-
medan gentleman distinguished by his learning and
accomplishments, who lived in the fourteenth century.
In the course of his travels, Ibu Batutu undoubtedly
beheld the Niger, but made the same mistake in re-
gard to it as had been made by older writers, suppos-
ing it to be identical with the Nile.
The next traveller who contributed anything note-
worthy to our knowledge of Africa was the geographer
Leo, a native of Granada, who, for his explorations in
the African continent, received the cognomen of Afri-
canus. He, too, elaborated a theory in regard to the
Niger, affirming that it had its source in a lake lying
to the south of Bornou.
While Portugal was in the zenith of her power,
and her ships were supreme upon the seas, she directed
her energies towards Africa with a view to coloniza-
tion and national aggrandizement. Portuguese navi-
gators made important discoveries along the western
shores of the continent, opening up to commerce and
the world the mouths of three several rivers — the
Senegal, the Gambia, and the Rio Grande — all of
which they believed to be the channels by which the
Niger emptied itself into the Atlantic. The power
AFRICAN DISCOVERY PREVIOUS TO PARK. 19
and influence of Portugal, both on land and sea, waned
until the nation ceased to be a factor in the councils
of Europe. But after a long period of inglorious tor-
por in the direction of discovery and scientific enter-
prise, Portugal is again showing signs of coining to
the front, if we may take as evidence the recent
spirited and wonderful journey of Major Serpo Pinta
From this brief survey of early African discovery
it will be seen that the river Niger, though it was
made the focus of exploration, for a long period baffled
the attempts of travellers to determine accurately
either its source or its course. It was reserved for
England to pierce and dissipate the thick cloud of
obscurity which veiled the great river. Yet this was
not accomplished immediately, nor without sacrifice.
An association was formed in England in 1788,
which took the title of the African Association. As
its name suggests, the object of the association was
to stimulate and encourage African discovery. The
endeavours of the committee to find persons willing
and competent to attempt the arduous task of pene-
trating into the interior of Africa met with a quick
response, the first volunteer for the required work
being Mr. Ledyard. The chief qualifications which
this gentleman possessed for the enterprise, besides
dauntless courage and great ardour, were his having
been a comrade of the illustrious Cook in his voyage
20 AFRICAN DISCOVERY PREVIOUS TO PARK.
round the world, and his having spent many years of
adventurous life among the North American Indians.
Mr. Ledyard's career in Africa was a sadly brief one.
While at Cairo, whence his expedition was to set out,
he was laid low by fever, induced, there can be little
doubt, by the fretting of his eager and impetuous
spirit at some hindrance in the starting of his caravan.
Hasty and injudicious treatment of himself completed
what anxiety and vexation had begun ; and thus the
first envoy of the African Association brought to an
untimely close an enterprise which, had intrepidity
and enthusiasm been all that was required, might have
had a brilliant and important issue.
The next traveller employed by the Association was
Mr. Lucas. He was unfortunate in the timing of his
journey, for the regions of Africa through which he
endeavoured to pass were in a disturbed and danger-
ous state, owing to a rebellion among the Moors.
Neither camels nor guides could be procured, and at
last the traveller was obliged to abandon his enter-
prise. Nevertheless Mr. Lucas succeeded in collecting
various notes relative to the country contiguous to
Tripoli, which added something to the general know-
ledge of Africa.
It will be observed that these two attempts to ad-
vance into the interior of Africa were land expeditions.
The next undertaken was so far of the same character,
but the start was from an entirely different point. Major
AFRICAN DISCOVERY PREVIOUS TO PARK. 21
Houghton, the third adventurer in the field of African
exploration, chose the route by the river Gambia, be-
lieving that he would thereby most surely and quickly
reach the Niger. Few episodes in the record of African
adventure are more pitiable than the fate of this gal-
lant and ardent gentleman. He reached in safety
Ferbanna, on the Faleme, where he was welcomed with
every hospitality by the king, who forwarded him on
his journey by all the means in his power. The next
and last personal communication from Major Hough-
ton told of his being in good health and spirits ; but
shortly thereafter the report came of his death — a
report which was subsequently confirmed in every
essential by Park. Plundered of everything he pos-
sessed, and left to wander without food and clothing in
the heart of the desert, the ill-fated traveller perished
of starvation, exposure, and fatigue.
park's first journey.
We now arrive at a very important stage in the
history of African discovery — that marked by the
appearance of Mungo Park. Park's success as a dis-
coverer having so greatly exceeded that of any pre-
vious traveller, it is fitting that we should place
before the reader a few particulars regarding his
early life, before proceeding to give an epitome of his
two great journeys.
Mungo Park's birth-place was Fowlshiels, near Sel-
kirk, where he first saw the light in September 1771.
The elder Park was a well-to-do farmer, who had so
strong an infusion of the ambition common among
Scottish parents of giving their children the best edu-
cation in their power, that he engaged a tutor for his
boys and girls — a rare proceeding on the part of a
farmer in those days. Young Mungo Park subse-
quently attended a school in Selkirk, where he does
not appear to have displayed more than an average
degree of ability in his studies. He was fond of all
PARK'S FIRST JOURNEY. 25
kinds of reading, however, and was generally of a
thoughtful temperament. It is related of the boy
that old romances and the stirring Border ballads were
among his favourite reading, which would seem to
indicate that beneath the quiet reserve of his outward
bearing there smouldered no little imagination and
It was the desire of his parents that young Mungo
should study for the ministry, but the lad's own in-
clinations were not in this direction. He wished to
follow the medical profession, and was accordingly
apprenticed to a surgeon in Selkirk. In the year
1789 he began to attend the medical lectures at the
Edinburgh University, and finished the usual three
years' course. His favourite study at this time, and
indeed always, was botany.
In 1792 Park sailed for Sumatra, as assistant sur-
geon on board the East Indiaman Worcester, returning
to England after a year's absence. The desire of the
African Association to find some individual qualified
and ready to prosecute still further the work of ex-
ploration in Africa, and to endeavour to finish what
Major Houghton and his predecessors had little more
than begun, roused the ambition and enthusiasm of
Park, and he offered his services to the Association.
The committee deemed Mr. Park's qualifications for
his task fully sufficient, his services were accepted,
and preparations were begun for his departure for
26 PARK'S FIRST JOURNEY.
Africa. Nearly two years elapsed, however, before he
was ready to start.
Park sailed from Portsmouth on the 22 nd of May
1795, and disembarked in Africa at Jillifree, a town
on the Gambia. On the 5 th July he reached Pisania,
where he was warmly welcomed by Dr. Laidley.
During a residence of five months with his hospitable
host, Park attained to considerable proficiency in the
Mandingo language ; while at the same time he was
active in studying the customs and character of the
natives and the natural features of the country — a
pursuit which even an attack of fever only partially
interrupted. He describes the Gambia at this stage
of its course as deep and muddy, its shores hidden by
thickets of mangrove, the stream itself being full of
fish of strange and unknown varieties, and higher up
of hippopotami and alligators.
Mr. Park took leave of Dr. Laidley early in De-
cember 1795. His companions were three in num-
ber — a man, a boy, and a horse. The first was a
native named Johnson, who spoke both English and
Mandingo ; the second a negro lad, Demba, who was
also acquainted with several languages besides his own ;
while the horse was a small but wiry animal, of much
spirit and hardihood. Johnson and Demba had also
an ass each, which carried both their masters and the
On December the 5 th the little party of travellers
PARK'S FIRST JOURNEY. 27
reached Medina, a town containing some one thousand
houses, and the capital of the kingdom of Wooli.
King Jatta, the ruling sovereign of Wooli, was the
king who had so hospitably received Major Houghton
during his sojourn in his dominions; and he now mani-
fested the same disposition to befriend and assist Mr.
Park. Nevertheless he thought it incumbent on him
to try to dissuade the traveller from his journey,
assuring him that the same fate which befell Major
Houghton awaited every white man who should en-
deavour to pass through the countries east of Wooli.
Mr. Park thanked the king for his kindly and well-
meant advice, but said that he must at all hazards
complete the task he had begun.
On the 8th the travellers reached Kolor, a town of
some size, where Mr. Park first made the acquaintance
of that curious African deity or demon — whichever it
may be regarded as — Mumbo Jumbo. He beheld, sus-
pended from the bough of a tree, a sort of masquerade
suit made of bark, and this, he was informed, belonged
to Mumbo Jumbo. A Kafir may marry as many
wives as he pleases, or can afford to add to his house-
hold. One result of this system of polygamy, as it
obtains among the Mandingoes, is that the wives
occasionally fall out. When these intestine wars wax
so fierce that the authority of the husband is set at
defiance, the aid of Mumbo Jumbo is invoked, and
seldom, it would appear, without the desired effect.
28 PARK'S FIRST JOURNEY.
" This strange minister of justice," writes Mr. Park,
"(who is supposed to be either the husband himself
or some person instructed by him), disguised in the
dress that has been mentioned, and armed with the
rod of public authority, announces his coming by loud
and dismal screams in the woods near the town. He
begins the pantomime at the approach of night ; and
as soon as it is dark he enters the town and proceeds
to the bentang, at which all the inhabitants immediately
assemble." It will thus be seen that Mumbo Jumbo
is the great bugbear or " Bogey " of Mandingo Kafir
At Koojar, the frontier town of the kingdom of
Bondou, our traveller was invited to witness a
neobering or wrestling-match. The antagonists,
athletic young men fired with emulation, stripped
naked, save for a short pair of drawers, and with their
limbs well lubricated with shea butter, like the com-
petitors in the ancient classic games, approached each
other on all fours. After some little feinting and
warding the rivals closed, and then began a display of
agility and strength which Mr. Park believed few
English athletes would have been able to match.
The combatants were stimulated in their contest by
the music of a drum, to whose rude strains they even,
in some degree, timed their movements.
On the morning of the 12 th the travellers entered
the wilderness that stretches between the kingdoms
PARK'S FIRST JOURNEY. 29
of Wooli and Bondou. At noon they found them-
selves beneath a large tree, the odd appearance of
which could not fail to strike Mr. Park. The tree
was called by the natives Neema Taba. Its branches
were ornamented with a ragged drapery of scraps and
patches of cloth which various travellers had fastened
to them — at first, Mr. Park suggests, to indicate that
water was to be found close at hand ; and the custom
having in time come to be regarded as a sort of
religious rite, at length no wayfarer cared to pass
without hanging up something.
Mr. Park's next halting-place was Tallika, the
chief town in the Bondou territory, the inhabitants of
which seemed to do a brisk commerce in supplying
passing caravans with provisions, and also in ivory —
two sources of wealth which enabled them to live in
The travellers quitted Tallika on December 14 th,
but had ridden only a short distance when the har-
mony of the little company — which, it must be stated,
was at this time increased by a party of Serawoollies —
was interrupted by a fierce quarrel between two of the
number. These breakers of the peace indulged in some
very unflattering epithets towards each other ; which
causes Mr. Park to relate, as a circumstance worthy of
note, that a blow is a much lighter insult to an
African than a slighting word spoken of his rela-
tives. " Strike me, but do not curse my mother,"
30 PARK'S FIRST JOURNEY.
is an expression frequently heard even from the lips
of slaves. Mr. Park took prompt measures to put an
end to this unseemly quarrel between his fellow-
travellers, by plainly informing the one who was mani-
festly in the wrong, that if he attempted to draw his
cutlass again, he should regard him as a robber and
shoot him on the spot — a threat which had all the
desired effect. The above is an example of the prompt
and fearless measures which Mr. Park could command
whenever any crisis called for such — a quality all the
more remarkable in one naturally disposed to be pro-
pitiatory, where propitiatory action would by any
means serve his end.
On the 21st Mr. Park arrived at Fatteconda, the
chief town in Bondou, where he was quickly presented
to the king, Almami. The traveller approached the
presence of this personage with some feeling of doubt,
for he had heard that Almami's conduct towards
Major Houghton was marked by great unkindness.
Mr. Park therefore took the precaution of bringing
with him gifts of some value. The king received the
presents more graciously than the giver had hoped
for, and then, after some long and circumlocutory
praise of white men in general, their riches and their
generosity, descended to particulars by passing a
warm eulogium on Mr. Park's coat — a blue one, gay
with yellow buttons — and finally wound up his
speech in the manner that the traveller probably
PARK'S FIRST JOURNEY. 31
anticipated, by begging him to present him with the
garment. Though the coat was the only good one in
Mr. Park's possession, he deemed it politic to consent
to the king's request, knowing that with an African
prince a request is usually synonymous with a com-
mand. The traveller's mortification in this instance
must have been all the greater from the circumstance
that he had put on his new blue coat in the fond
expectation that his back was the safest place for it —
a process of reasoning altogether too simple for the
occasion, as the event proved.
King Almami, however, so far reimbursed Mr. Park
for the loss of his coat as to supply him with plenty
of provisions, and subsequently — as a mark of special
favour probably — introduced him to the ladies of his
household, who had expressed a wish to see the
stranger. This interview with King Almami's wives
formed one of the funniest episodes in Park's travels.
These were about a dozen in number, for the most
part of comely aspect and lively demeanour. Two
features in the traveller's appearance especially sur-
prised and amused them — the whiteness of his com-
plexion, and the prominence of his nose. He had
been washed in milk when a child, they insisted, and
had thus become so white, while his nose had attained
its present unnatural and preposterous shape by dint
of daily pinching. Mr. Park met the badinage of
the dusky beauties in a like light and lively vein,
32 PARK'S FIRST JOURNEY.
indulging in a liberal strain of compliment on the good
looks of African ladies. His entertainers replied that
honey-mouth, their expressive phrase for flattery, was
but lightly regarded in Bondou. Nevertheless they
did not seem altogether indifferent to the white man's
approval, one proof of which may have been the little
present — a jar of honey and some fish — which they
afterwards sent to his hut.
Park quitted Fatteconda on the 23rd, and presently
reached Joag, in the kingdom of Kagaaga, the in-
habitants of which are called Serawoollies, a people
who show a marked capacity for business, are fairly
honest and straightforward in their dealings, and many
of whom attain to comparative wealth from the sale
of gold, salt, and cotton. Our traveller was not well
treated by the Serawoollies, being robbed of his
money by a party of horsemen, who pretended
that he had contravened the laws of the country
by entering it without paying duty. As an offset
to this indignity, however, he met with unexpected
kindness at the hands of an old woman, who behold-
ing him sitting, disconsolate and hungry-looking, be-
neath a bentang tree, asked him if he had had his
dinner. On Park's replying in the negative, and
recounting the circumstances of his robbery, the old
woman, placing on the ground the basket she had
been carrying on her head, took from it some hand-
fuls of nuts, and, with a look of much solicitude and
PARK'S FIRST JOURNEY. 33
pity, presented them to the white man. This was the
first of many similar instances of spontaneous and
unlooked-for kindness which Park experienced from
the rude and untutored peoples among whom his
journey led him, and it will be seen, as the narrative
proceeds, how, in his sorest straits, he was especially
indebted to women for succour and solace.
Park's next important halting-place was Koonia-
kari in the kingdom of Kasson, where he was well
received by the king, Demba Sego Jalla, a favour-
able specimen of a native prince, whose prowess in
war and clemency in peace had secured the sincere
attachment of his people. Demba Sego Jalla had seen
Major Houghton, and had made him a present of a
white horse. He knew that the traveller had been
killed by the Moors, but could not supply Mr. Park
with the particulars of his death. Park was fur-
nished by the king with two guides to conduct him
to Kaarta, the capital of which, Kemmoo, he presently
reached. Towards sunset of the same day he had an
audience of the king (Daisey Koorabani) who received
the white man seated simply on a bank of earth,
which, covered with a leopard-skin, formed the royal
throne. King Daisey was surrounded by a large body
of guards and attendants, who preserved excellent
order ; but save for the elevation of his seat and the
leopard-skin, there was nothing about the king to
distinguish him from the rest of his court.
34 PARK'S FIRST JOURNEY.
When Park had explained to King Daisey the cir-
cumstances and object of his journey, and asked his
aid in forwarding him on his way, the latter listened
to the traveller with attention, but replied that he
would be unable to render him much assistance.
There was feud between the people of Kaarta and of
Bambarra, the adjoining kingdom ; and hence it was
impossible that the king of the former country could
at present enter into friendly communication with one
who was his enemy. King Daisey strongly recom-
mended Mr. Park to return by the way he had come ;
but as the traveller expressed a firm determination
not to do this, the king advised, as the next best
course to adopt, that Park should proceed to Bam-
barra by a circuitous route through the Moorish
territory of Ludamar. It was identically the same
path which led Major Houghton to his death ; but as
he had no other choice, Park determined to follow it
also, and on February the 13th set out from Kemmoo,
accompanied by three of King Daisey 's sons.
Shortly before entering Jarra, the frontier town of
Ludamar, Park witnessed an episode of curious and
painful interest. A native herdsman had been
wounded by a Moorish robber, and was being slowly
led home, supported on his horse by a number of
comrades. In front of the little cortege walked the
young man's mother, wild with grief, clapping with
her hands, and singing the praises of her son — his
PARK'S FIRST JOURNEY. 35
virtues, gifts, and graces. " Ee maffo fonio ! " (He
never told a lie.) " Ee maffo fonio ; abada " (He
never told a lie ; no, never !), she cried. The wounded
youth was carried into her hut and placed upon a
mat — a crowd of his friends gathering around the
white, and bewailing the mishap with pitiable howling
Mr. Park being requested to examine the young
man's wound, did so, and found that the bone of the
leg had sustained a serious fracture, which would ne-
cessitate the amputation of the limb, if there was to
be any hope of saving the lad's life. This the boy's
relatives and friends would not hear of, regarding it
as an act of unheard-of cruelty ; and the sufferer died
the same evening.
On the 18th Park and his companions passed the
village of Simbing, a place which must have had pain-
ful associations for the traveller; for it was from here
that his gallant predecessor, Major Houghton, dated
his last letter — written in pencil — to Dr. Laidley.
Here Mr. Park heard the full particulars of Major
Houghton's death (a brief account of which has
already been given), and was shown from a distance
the very spot where the traveller's body had been
left a prey to the vulture and the jackal.
On his arrival at Jarra — a considerable town situ-
ated among rocky hills, substantially built of stone
and clay, and inhabited by negroes subject to the
36 PARK'S FIRST JOURNEY.
Moors — Park sent forward to Ali, the ruling chief of
Ludamar, a propitiatory present consisting of cotton
clothing. At Deena, the next large town at which
the traveller halted, he had his first experience of the
inhospitable and insulting treatment of which he was
to have only too many examples during his sojourn
among the Moors.
A crowd collected about the hut in which he was
lodging, and forthwith began to yell, hiss, and abuse
the unfortunate white man by every means they
could devise, even to the length of spitting in his
face. As a last method of rousing and if possible
enraging their victim, they reviled him for being a
Christian, and finally proceeded to strip him of every-
thing of value which he possessed.
Proceeding still patiently on his journey, Park next
passed through Sampaka and Samee, the latter a
negro village, where he once more met with the hos-
pitable entertainment which he so often received at
the hands of the negroes, and which so agreeably con-
trasted with his treatment by the Moors. The dooty,
or chief man of Samee, killed two fat sheep in the
white man's honour, and liberally feasted him and his
Refreshed in body and cheered in spirit by the
timely and gentle ministrations of these simple
people, Mr. Park was indulging the hope that he had
nothing further to fear from the Moors, and was
PARK'S FIRST JOURNEY. 37
already dreaming of a successful and glorious issue to
his journey, when hopes and dreams were alike rudely
dispelled by the sudden appearance at the door of his
hut of a party of Moors, who came to convey the
white man to Ali's camp at Benowm. Park narrates
that he was struck speechless with surprise and fear
at the sight of these men — a condition of mind that
was little allayed by their declaration that he had
nothing to dread, and that their visit had been insti-
gated chiefly by the desire of Queen Fatima, Ali's
wife, to make acquaintance with the white man.
On March 12th, Park and his escort reached Be-
nowm, which was little else than a collection of mean-
looking tents, confusedly scattered over a large area,
and among which herds of cattle, camels, and goats
roamed at will. As the party entered the camp, Park,
being exceedingly thirsty, endeavoured to obtain a
little water. He was at length successful. But imme-
diately the people at the wells beheld the white man,
they flung down their water-pitchers ; men, women,
and children came running towards him ; and Mr.
Park presently found himself surrounded by so great
a crowd that he was unable to move this way or that.
Forthwith began a process of petty annoyance of the
stranger : one pulled off his hat ; others tugged at
his coat ; others insisted on examining his waistcoat
buttons ; and another, with significant threats, made
him repeat after him the words, " Ilia la el Allah,
38 PARK'S FIRST JOURNEY.
Mahomet rasowl alabi " (There is but one God, and
Mohammed is his prophet).
When the traveller was at length brought before
Ali, he found that prince seated on a leather cushion,
engaged in trimming his moustache, while a female
slave held up a looking-glass before him. The king
was an elderly man, with a flowing white beard, and
a not very pleasant type of countenance, by reason of
its sullen and angry expression. After looking fixedly
at the stranger, he asked him if he could speak Arabic;
and on Park's replying that he could not, he seemed
greatly surprised, and resumed his former silence.
The ladies of the court, however, showed much
greater inquisitiveness — putting innumerable questions
to the white man ; minutely examining his clothes ;
making him unbutton his vest, that they might see
the whiteness of his skin ; and, finally, counting his
fingers and toes, in doubt, presumably, whether he had
the same number as themselves.
At sunrise next day, Ali visited the traveller in his
tent, to inform him that a hut had been made ready
for him. Mr. Park found his new lodging cool and
comfortable enough ; but he had barely taken pos-
session of it when he was once more assailed by a
crowd of Moors, and -the persecution of the hapless
white man was renewed with greater persistence than
ever. All that day, from noon till night, he was
occupied in a series of dressings and undressings for
PARK'S FIRST JOURNEY. 39
the satisfaction and amusement of his visitors, being
supported under this disagreeable and trying ordeal
only by a slight supper of kouskous and salt and
water, the only meal that was provided him during the
day. The traveller had a comparatively quiet night's
rest ; but with daybreak began the same round of
indignity and annoyance. " It is impossible," Mr. Park
writes, " to describe the behaviour of a people who
study mischief as a science, and exult in the miseries
and misfortunes of their fellow-creatures."
In devising methods of persecuting their helpless
victim, the Moors certainly displayed an ingenuity
worthy of a better cause. The means they discovered
and devised of rendering Mr. Park's life miserable were
innumerable. No one was so degraded in this bar-
barous society but he might bait, bully, and insult
the white man with impunity.
His captors seemed to think, or at least pretended
to, that the white man was a master of all trades;
for at one time he was bidden to perform the duties
of a gunsmith, and mend a gun for one of the king's
sons, and at another time those of a barber. He was
not, however, asked a second time to fill the latter
office, for on his first occasion of doing so he managed
to give the person being operated on (the boy-prince
of Ludamar) an unmistakable proof of his being a
novice in the craft — namely, a cut on the side of the
head ; whereat the king, concluding that the head of
40 PARK'S FIRST JOURNEY.
his son and heir was in the wrong place, brought Mr.
Park's performance to an abrupt conclusion.
An object of special curiosity, and presently of
superstitious awe to the Moors, was the traveller's
pocket-compass. Ali himself was most anxious to
have the mystery of the needle explained to him —
why it always pointed to the north, to the Great
Desert. Unable to devise any other answer that
would have met the case, Mr. Park told the king that
his mother dwelt beyond the Sahara Desert, and that
as long as she lived the needle of the compass would
point towards her home, thus serving as a guide to
direct him to her ; and that when she died it would
point to her grave — a harmless fabrication which got
the traveller out of his difficulty, for it would have
been futile to have attempted any scientific explana-
tion of the matter. The king now regarded the com-
pass with added astonishment and awe, and after
turning it this way and that in his hands, following
the motions of the needle with a face of silent won-
der, he returned the little instrument to its owner,
with every sign of fear at retaining any longer in his
keeping so magical and potent a charm.
Almost every day brought the captive white man
new hardships and annoyances, and thus a whole
month dragged wearily along. Every sunset he ea-
gerly welcomed the night, for then only was there
respite for him from the persecutions of his oppressors.
PARK'S FIRST JOURNEY. 41
He was insufficiently fed, and on the coarsest fare — a
bowl of kouskous with a little salt and water consti-
tuting his single daily meal. But he suffered most
of all from thirst, for it was the dry season, and the
heat was intense.
One evening, having in vain tried to procure a
drink in the camp, Park, feverish from thirst, wan-
dered out into the night, if by any chance he might
obtain a draught of water at the wells, which were
about half a mile distant from the town. Having
accosted an old man who was busy drawing water,
and requested that he might be allowed to drink, the
man was at first about to hand him his bucket, when,
suddenly calling to mind that he was a Christian, he
emptied the contents of the bucket into a common
cow-trough, and bade the white man drink from it.
It was not a time to regard niceties, and the fever-
parched white man was fain to thrust his head be-
tween those of two cows, and take a long and deep
draught from the rude trough.
All this time Park had seen nothing of Queen
Fatima, who was the ostensible cause of his being
brought to Benowm and detained so long there ; but
at last he had an interview with the Moorish princess,
at her residence in Bubaker. She was a woman of
enormous size — corpulence being regarded among the
Moors as the most distinguished mark of female
beauty — with long black hair. At first she showed
42 PARK 'S FIRST JO URNE Y.
some signs of being scandalized at the close proximity
of a Christian, but presently received Mr. Park gra-
ciously enough, questioned him about his native land,
and finally dismissed him with a present of a bowl
Again : it is worthy of being noted, that even among
the Moors, whose treatment of Park was characterized
by universal harshness and oppression, the only real
kindness that he received was from a woman, Fatima
continuing to befriend him to the end. The queen
persuaded her husband to allow the traveller to return
with him to Jarra, Mr. Park being at this time, it will
be remembered, at Bubaker.
After a few days' stay at Jarra, Ali returned to
Bubaker to celebrate an approaching feast, and Mr.
Park was left to await the king's return. On the
14th of June, news was brought to Jarra that King
Daisey, with whom Ali was at war, was about to at-
tack the camp. On the 26th, information arrived
that Daisey had captured Simbing, and would be in
Jarra immediately. Whereupon one-half of the in-
habitants abandoned the town, and set out for Bam-
In the general confusion which now ensued in Jarra,
Park resolved to attempt his escape. Mounting his
horse, and throwing a bag of corn across his saddle,
he joined the retreating crowd of townspeople, and
mingled in the hurrying throng of men, women, and
MUNGO PARK'S FIRST SIGHT OF THE NIGER.
PARK'S FIRST JOURNEY. 45
children, cattle, sheep, and goats. The panic-stricken
band of refugees, abandoning their homes and pos-
sessions, presented a sad and pitiful sight, which even
Mr. Park, much as he had suffered at the hands of the
Moors, could not help compassionating.
A crisis had arrived in Park's life. Now, if ever,
an opportunity for escape from the Moors seemed to
present itself. " I was again," he writes, " either to
taste the blessings of freedom or languish out my days
in captivity." Taking with him a small bundle, and
bidding farewell to the negro Johnson, who had been
so long his faithful companion, he escaped by night
while his guards were asleep. He had placed some
distance between himself and his captors, and had
begun to indulge a feeling of security, when he heard
a hallooing behind him : three horsemen galloped up,
caught hold of his horse, and told him he must return
with them to Ali.
This unlooked-for downfall of all his hopes affected
Park with the indifference and apathy of despair. But
things were not so bad as they at first seemed. The
three men had really no authority from Ali to appre-
hend Mr. Park, and had followed him merely with the
object of plunder. Having accomplished their pur-
pose, they suffered the traveller to go free ; and Mr.
Park, his spirits again rising at having escaped with
his life, turned his face eastward, and presently en-
tered the forest.
46 PARK 'S FIRST JO URNE Y.
Great as was Mr. Park's joy in the feeling of being
once more a free man, he soon became alive to the
gravity of his situation. He was without food and
without water, faint from hunger and parched with
thirst, while his horse was in much the same condi-
tion, becoming presently too weak to support his
Park now sank into a state of such extreme pros-
tration that his consciousness for a time left him, and
he fell into a faint. By-and-by, however, he recov-
ered, and determining to make one more effort for his
life, pushed wearily but patiently on, in the hope of
reaching some pool of water — his only chance of restor-
ing his exhausted energies. Presently he beheld a
flash of lightning, followed by a second and a third ;
the forest began to shake in the rising wind, and soon
a few heavy rain-drops pattered down on the trav-
eller. For upwards of an hour rain fell fast, and Mr.
Park succeeded in quenching his thirst by soaking his
clothes and then sucking them dry.
The traveller pushed on, but it was not long ere
he was again suffering from thirst. This time he was
relieved more sufficiently. He heard a loud croaking
of frogs, a "heavenly sound" to his ears, and shortly
thereafter reached a shallow muddy pool, at which
both himself and his horse fully quenched their thirst.
On the same day he reached Shrilla, a Foulah village,
where he sought entertainment at the house of the
PARK'S FIRST JOURNEY. 49
dooty, but was inhospitably turned from the door.
At some little distance, spinning cotton, sat an old
woman at the entrance of her hut. This kind old
creature led the hungry and tired traveller into her
cabin, set food before him, and brought corn for his
horse ; in return for which good offices Mr. Park made
her accept one of his handkerchiefs.
On July the 15th our traveller halted at Wawra,
a small negro town, where, being greatly fatigued,
he rested a while. Resuming his journey, he passed
through several other negro towns and villages, trav-
elling now for the most part on foot, for his horse had
become so weak that his master forbore making any
attempt to ride him.
As Mr. Park approached the town of Sego, visions
of the Niger so filled his thoughts and his imagination
that they prevented him from sleeping. It was even-
ing as he drew near the town, when, gazing about him
to catch sight of the river, he heard one of his com-
panions, who consisted of Kaartan natives, call out, "Geo
affilli !" (See the water !) And directing his gaze for-
ward, he beheld, with satisfaction and joy that may
be imagined, the great object of his mission — " the
long -sought -for, majestic Niger, glittering to the
morning sun, as broad as the Thames at Westmin-
ster, and flowing slowly to the eastward." The dis-
coverer of the great river, with mingled emotions
of elation and thankfulness, hurried forward to the
50 PARK 'S FIRST JO URNE Y.
bank, bent down and drank of the stream, and then
offered up a heartfelt prayer of gratitude to God,
who had thus far crowned his enterprise with signal
Sego, the chief town of the kingdom of Bambarra,
Park found to consist of four separate and distinct
divisions — two situated on the northern, and two on
the southern bank of the river. The place contained
as many as thirty thousand inhabitants, and, for a re-
mote town in the heart of Africa, presented a wonderful
aspect of substantiality and prosperity. Some of the
houses were of two stories, and a number had their
walls white-washed; the city streets were comparatively
broad, and Moorish mosques rose in every direction.
The river was thronged with canoes, the thoroughfares
of the town crowded with foot-passengers, and the
neighbouring country was so well cultivated as to
excite considerable surprise in Mr. Park's mind.
Owing to the crowd of people desirous of being
conveyed across the river, Mr. Park could not at once
obtain a ferryman. While waiting his turn, seated
on the bank of the river, he was informed that the
king of Sego had refused to allow him to cross the
river until he made known his object in visiting the
country. A good deal discouraged by this rebuff, the
traveller betook himself to a village at some distance
from the town, where the king had bidden him take
up his abode until further instructions.
THE NEGRO SONG.
PARK'S FIRST JOURNEY. 53
No one in the village would receive the traveller
beneath his roof, and Mr. Park remained all day with-
out food seated beneath a tree. The wind increased,
there was every appearance of heavy rain, and the
prospect of spending a night out-of-doors was a suf-
ficiently dreary one, especially as the surrounding-
country was infested with wild animals.
At this juncture — when Park saw nothing before
him but a night spent under these cheerless condi-
tions — there occurred what was at once perhaps
the most pleasing and not the least pathetic episode
in all his African experiences. As it was growing
dusk, a kind negro woman, returning from "the fields,
approached the faint and weary white man, and
revealing in her looks her deep compassion for his
sad plight, bade him follow her, while she herself
carried his saddle and bridle. When she had seated
Park on a mat in her hut, she trimmed a lamp,
broiled a fish on the fire, and placed it before him
as his supper. The rest of the household had mean-
while been watching the stranger with looks of won-
dering astonishment, but now resumed their occupation
of spinning, which was continued far into the night.
As they worked, the dark-skinned maidens sang to
cheer their labour, and presently one improvised a
song of which the white stranger was himself the
theme. The air was sweet and plaintive, and the
words touching in their naturalness and simplicity.
54 PARK'S FIRST JOURNEY.
IRegro Bong from /l&r. park's travels.*
roared, the rain fell fast, The white man yield - ed to the blast ; He sat him
down be-neath our tree, For wear -y, sad, and faint was he: And ah,
wife, no moth ■ er's care, For him the milk or corn pre-pare, For him the milk or corn pre-
The words and music of the above song are taken from the original quarto edition
of Park's travels. The words are by the Duchess of Devonshire, the music by G. G.
PARK'S FIRST JOURNEY.
pare. The white man shall our pi - ty share; A -las.' no wife or moth-er's
3= 3=^ P
^4.1 -l. U J- W
fe^ ^yE^fe^ i
care For him the milk or com pre-pare, For him the milk or corn pre - pare.
The loud wind roared, the rain fell
The white man yielded to the blast ;
He sat him down beneath our tree,
For weary, sad, and faint was he :
And ah, no wife, no mother's care,
For him the milk or corn prepare.
The white man shall our pity share ;
Alas ! no wife or mother's care
For him the milk or corn prepare.
The storm is o'er, the tempest past,
And Mercy's voice has hushed the
The wind is heard in whispers low,
The white man far away must go ;
But ever in his heart must bear
Remembrance of the negro's care.
Go, white man, go — but with thee bear
The negro's wish, the negro's prayer,
Remembrance of the negro's care.
In perusing Mr. Park's journal no wonder is raised
in the reader's mind, at this point, by the statement
that the traveller was so keenly affected by the above
episode that, weary though he was, sleep for long fled
Ferrari, a well-known composer of the day, who was thought to have succeeded admir-
ably in retaining the simplicity and plaintiveness of the original melody, while giving
it more body and shape.
56 PARK'S FIRST JOURNEY.
from his eyes. To our thinking, there is an idyllic
simplicity and even grace about the whole circum-
stances of the incident quite worthy to awaken the
inspiration of the poet ; while it is pleasing to con-
template in another and different light, as exemplify-
ing how universal is the kindly bond of humanity
that links the race together. Here surely was an
instance of the " one touch of nature " that " makes
the whole world kin."
The king of Sego's treatment of Park was, on the
whole, liberal and considerate. He did not permit
him to remain longer at Sego than two days ; but in
adopting this course he was greatly influenced, Mr.
Park believed, by fear of the Moors. The traveller
was, however, presented by the king with a bag con-
taining five thousand cowries, and provided with a
guide as far as Sansanding, his next halting-place.
Sansanding was found to be a place of some import-
ance, largely frequented by Moorish traders in beads
and coral, gold-dust and cotton cloth. Here the
traveller was first mistaken for some one else, and
afterwards treated with much discourtesy and rude-
ness. The Moors gathered about him in great crowds,
and insisted that he should accompany them to the
mosque, and join in the Mohammedan worship. Mr.
Park managed to escape this ordeal, but was com-
pelled to mount a high seat in front of the mosque,
in order that he might be easily seen by everybody.
PARK'S FIRST JOURNEY. 57
Then the rabble crowded into the hut in which the
traveller had taken up his lodging, for the purpose of
watching him at his evening devotions and seeing him
" eat eggs." Seven raw hen-eggs having been set
before him, he had considerable difficulty in making
it clear to the people that it was not the universal
custom among Europeans to eat eggs uncooked — an
idea which seemed rooted in their minds. To the
wish of his visitors, that he should perform his de-
votions before them, he did not think fit to yield.
From his landlord at Sansanding, however, the
traveller received hospitable enough treatment, which
he in part repaid by writing out for the old man a
saphic or charm, which the latter was very anxious
to obtain. " If a Moor's saphic is good," said he,
"a white man's must needs be better." Whereupon
Mr. Park wrote out the charm of greatest virtue with
which he was acquainted — the Lord's Prayer.
Quitting Sansanding, Park passed through Nyara
and Nyamee, and presently his route again led through
the forest. He was riding slowly on, his horse being
greatly fatigued, when his guide suddenly exclaimed,
" Wara billi billi " (A very large lion) ; and again,
" Soubah an Allahi " (God preserve us). The traveller
looked quickly round, and beheld a large red lion
couching among the bushes a little way off from the
track he was pursuing. Mr. Park feared every
moment that the lion would spring upon him ; but no
58 PARK'S FIRST JOURNEY.
such danger overtook him — the creature suffering him
and his companion to pass quietly on.
At this stage of his journey the traveller suffered
much from the attacks of mosquitoes, and passed
night after night without obtaining sleep, engaged in
a vain attempt to keep at bay the countless swarms of
these remorseless insects. But a worse misfortune
befell him in the necessity he was under of at length
abandoning his horse, so long the faithful companion
of his wanderings and the patient sharer of his every
hardship. The poor animal had become too weak to
proceed a yard further. All that Park could do was
to place a bundle of grass before him and continue
his journey on foot, heavy at heart for the loss of his
horse, and with a dreary foreboding that a similar
fate — death in the wilderness — awaited himself.
On reaching Kea, a small fishing village, Park
embarked on the Niger in a canoe, and presently
arrived at Moorzan, a town on the north bank of the
river, whence he crossed over to Silla. Here, with
much difficulty, he obtained lodging at the house
of the dooty, and on the same night of his arrival
in the town was prostrated with a sharp attack of
Park's position was now a grave one. He was
without clothing and without food, and possessed no
means of procuring either. He was debilitated by
frequent sickness, and by the long periods of fasting
A LION IN THE WAY.
P "gt S7-
PARK'S FIRST JOURNEY. 61
which he had from time to time had to undergo. The
difficulties of pushing his way further eastward were
more than he could hope to overcome. The rainy-
season had already begun ; in a little while the low
grounds would be nothing else than marshes, and all
progress, save by water, impossible. The few cowries
still remaining to the traveller, from the king of Sego's
present, were quite insufficient to hire a canoe for any
length of time, and to trust to the good-will of the
Moors for being forwarded on his way, Park knew,
from painful experience, to be worse than vain. After
long and anxious pondering of the question, he con-
cluded that the only course left to him, if he was ever
again to reach the coast a living man, was to turn his
face westward ; and no reader of his journal will for a
moment doubt the wisdom of his decision, or dream of
imputing a thought of faint-heartedness to the trav-
eller for making it.
Park now began his return journey westward. At
Modiboo an unexpected pleasure awaited him in the
recovery of his horse, which had been found by the
dooty of the place and restored to comparative strength.
The traveller set out from Modiboo, driving his horse
before him. The country was now little better than
a swamp, and Mr. Park had to wade for miles to-
gether up to his knees in water. Twice his horse
stuck fast in the mud, and was only disembedded
with much difficulty. One morning the traveller
62 PARK 'S FIRST JO URJYE Y.
counted fourteen native huts that had been under-
mined and wrecked since the rains had set in.
Mr. Park's reception at the several towns through
which he now passed was the reverse of encouraging.
The cause of this he was not long in discovering. A
report had spread that he had come to Bambarra as a
spy, and he was accordingly everywhere shunned and
mistrusted. On his arrival at Sansanding, even Counti
Mamadi, who, as he himself records, had received him
so kindly on his eastward journey, now gave him but
a cold welcome, and informed him that the king of
Sego had sent after him to bring him back. Finally,
Counti Mamadi advised Park to leave Sansanding
early in the morning, and on no account to visit
Diggani or any town near Sego.
Notwithstanding this caution, Park halted on
August 11th at a small village within a short distance
of the capital, where, however, the critical nature of
his position being impressed upon him more strongly
than ever, he resolved to avoid Sego altogether. Ac-
cordingly, mounting his horse, he struck into the
swamps and forest again, and set his face due west-
ward. More than once he had half resolved upon
swimming the Niger, and making for Cape Coast to
the south, but finally judged that he should carry out
the object of his expedition more closely if he held on
in a westerly direction, and sought to determine how
far the Niger was navigable at that part of its course.
PARK'S FIRST JOURNEY. 65
Mr. Park's journey continued under difficulties. He
suffered from scarcity of food, and from the toil and
fatigue of travelling through the inundated country.
On the 16th of August he passed through the town
of Yamina. This he found to be a place of consider-
able importance ; but as it was much frequented by
the Moors, he did not think it safe to lodge in it.
On August the 18th he reached a narrow but rapid
stream which he at first thought must be a tributary
of the Niger, but presently discovered to be a distinct
river. He entered the stream, leading his horse, and
was already neck-deep in water, when a voice from
the bank behind him loudly called upon him to come
back. Turning round, Park beheld a native, who
proceeded to inform him that the river was full of
alligators, which would be certain to devour both the
traveller and his horse if they tried to swim the
river. When Mr. Park again stood on the bank, the
black man, in great astonishment at this his first
sight of a white man, exclaimed in a low voice, " God
preserve us ! who is this ? " Mr. Park addressed the
man in the Bambarra tongue, which seemed to re-
assure him ; for he promised to help the traveller to
cross the river. A canoe was procured, and in a short
while Mr. Park was safely landed on the opposite
The stranger's good offices did not cease here. At
Taffara, Park, being unable to obtain a lodging, was
66 PARK'S FIRST JOURNEY.
seated beneath the bentang tree, exposed to the fierce
violence of a storm that was then raging, when his
former deliverer came up and shared his supper with
the white man. He would have invited the traveller
into the hut in which he was lodging; but being
himself only a guest, he had not the authority. The
night was spent by Park on the wet grass in an outer
Mr. Park had as much difficulty in procuring food
for his horse as for himself. At the village of Sooha,
the dooty absolutely refused to supply him with a
morsel of either, whether for payment or charity.
While the traveller was endeavouring to discover a
reason for the man's unusually discourteous and rough
bearing, the latter ordered a slave to bring a hoe. The
slave began to dig a hole ; the dooty meanwhile look-
ing on, and muttering such sentences as, " Dank atoo "
(Good for nothing), " Jankra lemen " (A real plague).
When the slave had finished his work he departed to
the village, and presently returned, carrying the dead
body of a boy. In great surprise Park waited for the
sequel. The slave, roughly lifting the naked corpse,
flung it into the pit with a heartless indifference such
as Mr. Park had never hitherto beheld during his
travels. While the man threw in the earth over the
grave, the dooty kept repeating, " Naphula attiniata "
(Money lost), which left little doubt in Mr. Park's
mind that the boy had been a slave. This was
PARK 'S FIRST JO URNE Y. 67
perhaps the most shocking scene witnessed by the
traveller in Africa.
Pursuing his route along the bank of the river, he
reached towards evening Koolikorro, a place of some
size, the inhabitants of which traded extensively in
salt. Here the native with whom he lodged, immedi-
ately on learning that the stranger was a Christian,
proposed that Park should make him a saphic "to
protect him from wicked men," promising that in
return he would prepare for his guest a supper of rice.
This was a chance of a good meal not to be lightly
regarded by the half -famished wanderer. The landlord
brought a board which Mr. Park covered with writing
from top to bottom on both sides. What he wrote,
on this occasion of charm-making, is not recorded in
the traveller's journal ; but whatever it was, it seemed
abundantly to satisfy his landlord, who, washing off
the writing on the board into a cup containing a little
water, and murmuring a prayer over the liquid, drank
it at a draught, afterwards licking the board dry, that
no word of the potent charm might be wasted. That
night our traveller enjoyed the only sufficient meal
and good sleep he had had for many days.
On the 23rd of August Park reached Bammakoo,
where he obtained from a slave-merchant information
respecting his further route westward. What he
learned was not reassuring. His road would lead him
across the Joliba at a town where it would be
68 PARK 'S FIRST JO URNEY.
impossible to procure a canoe large enough to convey
his horse across the river. Mr. Park, however, had
no alternative but to push forward. At Kooma, a
secluded and picturesque village, he was most hos-
pitably entertained by the simple and kind-hearted
inhabitants, who brought a supper of corn and milk
for the traveller, and provender for his horse, kindled
his fire, and provided him with a hut for the night.
Mr. Park left Kooma escorted by two shepherds.
Towards noon of the same day he heard a noise as
of people shouting. Riding in the direction whence
the sound proceeded he beheld a man seated on the
stump of a tree, while some half-dozen heads were
just visible among the grass. The traveller took the
men for elephant-hunters, but they proved to be
robbers — and of the most pitiless sort. Resistance
would have been vain and probably dangerous. The
traveller was stripped of everything he possessed, and
at first feared that he would be left literally naked.
But a spark of humanity survived even in the breasts
of these savage banditti. They left their victim the
oldest of his two shirts, a pair of trowsers, and his hat
— for the recovery of which latter article Mr. Park
was no doubt very thankful, as it was the receptacle
of his notes.
This incident depressed Park more, probably, than
any hardship he had yet endured. He was alone in
a dreadful wilderness, almost naked, far away from
PARK'S FIRST JOURNEY. 69
all help from his own countrymen, with savage ani-
mals on every side, and men not less savage — a com-
bination of adverse circumstances greater than he
seemed able to struggle against. Thoughts of death
filled his mind ; there was nothing left for him but
to lie down and breathe his last.
But in this his darkest hour, Park records that he
was not entirely without support and solace. The
thought that his present position was due to no fault
or folly of his own, that he had fulfilled his mission to
the best of his knowledge and ability, and that his
fate was even now in the hands of that Providence
who could protect him as surely in a strange land as
in his own — these reflections came to sustain him, and
prevented any feeling of bitterness mingling with his
While he thus sat in sad contemplation of his fate,
a trifling circumstance served to turn the current of
his thoughts, to direct them into a more cheerful
channel, and finally to fill his heart with fresh hope
and courage. This happy reanimation of spirit was
caused by the sight of a simple little plant, a small
moss in fructification, the exquisite beauty of which
had power to move the admiration of the traveller in
his hour of deepest languor. Could the Being, he
thought, who created this little plant, tended and
nursed it to perfection in this remote spot, regard with
indifference one of his own suffering children, made in
70 PARK'S FIRST JOURNEY.
his own likeness ? Surely not ! The thought forbade
despair. The traveller rose from the ground, and
battling down his hunger and fatigue, pressed onward
in the hope that relief would yet reach him before it
was too late. And he was not disappointed. Suffi-
cient strength remained to him to enable him to reach
Sibidooloo, the frontier town of Manding, at sunset.
In reading the above simple but affecting incident,
it is impossible to avoid the thought of how a man's
favourite study may sometimes come to his aid in the
sorest strait. It is but one of many similar instances
on record, as every reader of travel and biography
must call to mind. To the love of all natural beauties
with which Park's study of botany had inspired him
the thoughts raised in his breast by the sight of the
little flower must in part be attributed ; for it is
improbable that at such a moment a simple little
moss-plant would have discovered all its delicate grace
to an ordinary and untrained eye. This idea takes
nothing from the moral side of the picture — the
natural and devout emotions with which the sight of
the flower filled the traveller's heart.
To the mansa — or chief man — of Sibidooloo,
Park related his recent adventures, which roused in
his hearer's breast an indignation creditable to him.
" Sit down," said he ; " you shall have everything
restored to you. — Give the white man " (to an attend-
ant) " a draught of water ; and with the first light
PA RK 'S FIRST JO URNE Y. 71
of the morning go over the hills, and inform the
dooty of Bammakoo that a poor white man — the
king of Bambarra's stranger — has been robbed by the
king of Fooladoo's people."
Park remained two days at Sibidooloo, and no news
of his horse and clothes having reached the town
during that time, he resumed his journey. At Wonda he
was obliged to rest as long as nine days, being stricken
down with fever, from which he had suffered inter-
mittently ever since the rainy season had set in.
Food was now very scarce in every place through
which the traveller passed, painful proofs of which he
witnessed on all sides.
During his stay at Wonda, Park recovered his horse
and clothes, sent on by the mansa of Sibidooloo, who
had thus been enabled to redeem his promise. The
traveller's compass, however, was so much broken as to
be rendered useless; and his horse so emaciated that he
was glad to be able to leave it with his landlord, who,
he felt assured, would take every care of it.
Park was but partially recovered from his sickness
when he resumed his march. Passing through several
other villages and towns, he arrived at Kamalia, where
he took iip his residence at the house of one Karfa
Taura, his acquaintance with whom proved of great
importance to the traveller. Karfa Taura was a slave-
merchant, and at the time of Park's arrival at Kamalia
was collecting a coffle of slaves to take to the Gambia.
72 PARK'S FIRST JOURNEY.
The traveller now saw an opportunity of obtaining an
escort that was not to be lost. He found the slave-
merchant, notwithstanding the nature of his calling, to
be a man of an exceedingly reasonable and honest dis-
position. A compact was concluded, by the terms of
which Karfa Taura was to allow Mr. Park to accom-
pany him to the Gambia, supplying him with all
necessary food on the journey ; and in return for his
services he was to receive the price of one slave.
Karfa Taura could not start on his journey until
the rainy season was fairly over, and the roads in a
condition for travelling by. Thus Mr. Park remained
at Kamalia for a considerable time; and though during
the greater part of his sojourn in the district he was
prostrated with fever, he was able to collect a great
deal of information in regard to the country and its
inhabitants, all of which the reader will find detailed
in the traveller's journal.
Nothing could exceed the kindness and attention
bestowed upon Mr. Park, during this period, by Karfa
Taura. He was provided with a comfortable hut, a
mat-bed, an earthen jar for water, and a calabash
cup ; with everything, in fact, that is required in that
simple and primitive society. Every day a slave
brought him firewood and water, and two ample
meals ; and every day he was visited by his landlord
in person, who came to inquire how it fared with the
sick white man. Thus, when all but overcome by
PARK'S FIRST JOURNEY. 73
repeated disaster, hunger, and illness, Mr. Park was
succoured and delivered by this benevolent negro.
At length, on April 1 9 th, Karfa Taura was ready to
set out with his coffle of slaves — thirty-five in number.
It will easily be understood how the remainder of Mr.
Park's journey was beset with far fewer perils, hard-
ships, and vicissitudes than the first portion of it had
been. He was now accompanied by a strong escort ;
food was forthcoming regularly and in sufficient
quantity ; and the roads no longer presented the same
almost insurmountable obstacles to progress which they
had formerly done. The Jallonka wilderness was
that part of the route which proved the most fatiguing
and the most dangerous ; fatiguing from its vastness
and the density of the forest, and dangerous from the
number of wild beasts infesting it.
The route pursued by the caravan led across the
Bafing or Black River, one of the principal branches
of the Senegal. This stream was crossed on a very
curiously constructed bridge of bamboo — a sort of
floating bridge formed by two high trees, which, when
fastened together by their topmost boughs, stretched
from one bank of the river to the other. When a few
trees are placed in this position and laid with bamboos,
the whole forms a gangway sloping down from each
end towards the middle. Such a bridge is well
adapted to a stream liable to be flooded every season,
since it can be so quickly and easily constructed.
74 PARK'S FIRST JOURNEY.
After passing through many towns and villages the
caravan at length reached the Gambia, and on the
10th of June 1797 Mr. Park was once more in
Pisania, where, it needs not to be said, he was welcomed
with the greatest joy — not the less keen because he
had been almost given up for dead. Dr. Laidley dis-
charged the traveller's debt to Karfa Taura with large
interest, giving the negro twice the sum agreed upon.
Though Karfa Taura had amply deserved this liberal
treatment, his kindness towards Mr. Park having
continued to the last, he was greatly overcome by the
additional recompense. The whole European life at
Pisania, moreover, made a manifest impression on him:
and more than once he exclaimed to Mr. Park, with a
thoughtful look and a sigh : " Fato fing inta feng "
(Black men are nothing ).
Mr. Park reached England by a somewhat indirect
route, embarking in an American ship, the Gharlestown,
on the loth of June. He was delayed for ten days
on the island of Antigua, and did not arrive in
England until the end of November.
The pleasure of Mr. Park's friends, and, it may be
said, of the people of England generally, at his safe
return, hardly exceeded their astonishment ; for all
hopes of the traveller being still alive were beginning
to be abandoned. Two years had passed without any
word of him having reached England. As may be
imagined, the interest excited by the story he had to
1 ^llP 1 !' 1 '
PARK'S FIRST JOURNEY. 77
tell was very great among almost all classes of the
community. The African Association were as proud
as they were pleased at the success of the expedition
which had been originated and equipped under their
auspices ; and the general public were eager to hear
the stirring tale of travel, adventure, and discovery.
Park's journey, both in its character and results, was
the most important that had yet been accomplished.
The traveller had beheld the Niger, and had definitely
determined, past all doubt and question, the direction
of the great river for a large portion of its course.
He had also collected a mass of information regarding
Central Africa, which, though not absolutely trust-
worthy, as subsequent discovery has proved, as far
exceeded in accuracy as it did in amount the work of
any previous discoverer.
park's second journey.
Soon after arriving in England, Park set about the
task of arranging and writing the journal of his
travels — a work which cost him much time and pains.
The conditions of his journey, it may be imagined,
were not favourable to literary composition, and the
notes made on the way were, accordingly, meagre and
disjointed ; so that Park had to rely greatly on his
memory, which was fortunately a retentive one. The
labour of authorship, moreover, was one which he had
never before essayed, and composition came only with
pains. But he was rewarded for the conscientious care
which he bestowed upon his book by its large sale
when published ; for it rapidly won its way in the
popular favour, and brought its author both fame and
Park now settled down into private life, establishing
himself as a doctor in Peebles. There he performed
faithfully and diligently the usual duties of a country
surgeon, doing much hard work for sufficiently scanty
PARK'S SECOND JOURNEY. 79
pay. It is worth noting that during this period he
made the acquaintance of Sir Walter Scott, the two
men becoming excellent friends. The novelist greatly
admired the character of the traveller, and has
recorded his opinion of it in warm terms in the
But though Park conscientiously fulfilled his pro-
fessional duties in Peebles, there were many indications
that his heart really lay in other work. His thoughts
continually went out to the great river of which he
could justly regard himself as the discoverer, but
which still lay hid in so much vagueness and mystery.
He longed to complete the work he had begun — to
possess the whole secret of the Niger. He was con-
stantly revolving in his mind the project of a second
African expedition, which should crown his previous
labours, and set at rest every geographical problem
connected with Central Africa.
It was some time ere Park's hopes and ambitions
seemed likely to be gratified ; but at length the chance
he had been waiting for arrived. The English
Government determined upon sending an expedition
to Central Africa, and Park was asked to lead it.
After some delay, caused mainly by a change in the
administration of the country, Mr. Park was ready to
set out. He sailed from Portsmouth on the 30 th of
January 1805, having as companions Mr. Anderson,
his brother-in-law; and Mr. Scott, the draughtsman of
80 PARK'S SECOND JOURNEY.
the expedition. At Goree he secured the services of
an officer and thirty-five soldiers, who, with some half-
dozen artificers and two qualified seamen, completed
At Kayee, Park engaged as guide to the expedition
Isaaco, a Mandingo merchant and priest — a man well
qualified for the office by his knowledge of inland
travelling. Pisania was reached on April 28th ; and
here Mr. Park and his comrades were warmly received
by Mr. Ainsley, who had been of so much assistance
to the traveller on his former journey.
The expedition set out from Pisania on the 4th of
May. Mr. Park divided his men into six messes.
Mr. Scott marched with the first division, under whose
guidance were the asses ; Lieutenant Martyn had
charge of the centre ; while Mr. Park himself, together
with Mr. Anderson, brought up the rear. Thus the
party proceeded, marching by day and pitching their
tents at night. May the 11th brought them to
Medina, the chief town of Woolli, where Park had to
pay a heavy tax of amber and coral to the king.
At Tambico, Isaaco the guide was plundered, mal-
treated, and made a prisoner, being at length released
only by a ransom of considerable value. Shortly after
this the party suffered a strange but serious enough
attack from a large swarm of bees, whose onslaught
was of such violence that six of the asses and one
horse died from the effects of their stings.
PARK'S SECOND JOURNEY. 81
The tribute which the various native kings enforced
from Mr. Park was greater than he had anticipated ;
indeed it may be said that the mission was literally-
plundered on every hand. Difficulties of other kinds,
too, soon began to beset it, and to increase with every
stage of its progress. The rains set in, and the health of
the men began rapidly to deteriorate. This eventuality
Park had clearly foreseen ; but on various accounts
he had not deemed it advisable to delay his journey
until after the wet season.
In the beginning of June the first death occurred —
that of a carpenter. A few days later a succession of
tornadoes, each of exceeding violence, was experi-
enced, exercising an immediate and marked effect for
the worse upon the health of the soldiers. This, to
use Park's own brief fateful words, was the beginning
Fever and dysentery were soon making havoc
among the men. No one wholly escaped — the leader
himself suffering with the rest — and before the month
was over a sad gap was visible in the little party.
During this period of dire distress, the best qualities
of the leader shone out conspicuously. Patient, self-
denying, undaunted, often enduring fatigue that his
comrades might be spared it, and foregoing rest that
they might have the more, cheering the sick and
soothing the dying, Park won the affection and ad-
miration of all.
82 PARK'S SECOND JOURNEY.
On the 4th of July, Isaaco narrowly escaped being
devoured by a crocodile. As he was crossing with
some of the asses the river Wonda, a tributary of the
Senegal, an alligator caught him by the leg and
dragged him under. The black man instantly drove
his finger into the creature's eye ; the brute's grip
relaxed, and the guide made for the shore. But he
was not quick enough for his enemy, which once more
seized him. Isaaco turned, and this time thrust his
fingers into both eyes of the crocodile, which at once
quitted its hold and presently swam down the stream.
But Isaaco's wounds were of so serious a character that
the party were obliged to halt for four days before he
was able to proceed.
On the 19th, the Ba Woolima, a tributary of the
Senegal, was reached, and safely crossed, after much
difficulty, by means of an extemporized bridge cleverly
constructed by the negroes out of two large trees and
a number of forked sticks.
Almost daily the expedition dwindled away before
the extreme hardships and difficulties of the journey —
chief among which were the fatal effects of the
climate. By the 19th of August only one-fourth of
the party survived. Some, at their own request, had
been left on the road to die, among whom was Mr.
Scott. Mr. Anderson was soon to follow ; but he had
the sad satisfaction of at least beholding the Niger
from afar. At Leniba, from the summit of a range of
PARK 'S SECOND JO URNE Y. 83
hills which stretches between the Niger and the Sene-
gal, the surviving members of the expedition saw the
great river " rolling its immense stream along the
The sight of the river, which was the goal of their
journey, inspired the little band with fresh strength
and courage, and they ventured to hope that their
hardships were almost at an end. Several more men
died, however, before Bammakoo was reached, where the
party embarked in a canoe on the Niger. On the fol-
lowing day they arrived at Marraboo, where Isaaco's en-
gagement with the expedition ceased. He was paid
the reward agreed upon for his services ; and a second
compact was then made between him and Mr. Park,
to the effect that he was to receive all the asses and
horses if he should succeed in securing for the expedi-
tion the protection of the king of Bambarra and per-
mission to build a boat.
Isaaco set out on his mission, and some days passed
before any word came from Bambarra. Park was
harassed with doubt and perplexity, but was presently
relieved by the arrival of an envoy from Sego, the
capital of Bambarra, who announced that the king
would be glad to receive the expedition, and accept
from Mr. Park whatever remaining presents he pro-
posed to make.
The reception which the expedition received at Sego
was on the whole reassuring. The king promised to
84 PARK'S SECOND JOURNEY.
sell Mr. Park a canoe ; and after great difficulty and
delay a suitable vessel was got ready. Mr. Ander-
son was never to embark in the Joliba — the name
which was given to the canoe. On the 28th he
breathed his last. Park's grief and dejection at the
death of his brother-in-law exceeded in intensity all
other misfortunes that had befallen him during his
journey. " No event," he writes, " that took place
during the journey ever threw the smallest gloom over
my mind, till I laid Mr. Anderson in the grave. I
then felt myself a second time lonely and friendless
amidst the wilds of Africa."
The party now included five white men only.
Though now fairly embarked on the Niger, Park, after
coming through an experience of so much disaster and
distress, could not but be filled with the most anxious
forebodings. Still no sign of flinching from his pur-
pose escaped him. His courage and calmness remained
unshaken. " Though all the Europeans who are with
me should die, and though I were myself half dead, I
would still persevere." Thus he writes to Lord
Camden ; while his letters to his wife express a like
resolution to persevere to the death, together with a
confident hope in the ultimate success of his enter-
Park began his last voyage down the Niger on
November 17th, 1805. It was long ere any further
intelligence of the traveller and his comrades reached
PARK'S SECOND JOURNEY. 85
England. At last Park's friends became anxious about
him, and the governor of Sierra Leone, Colonel Max-
well, despatched Isaaco the guide to inquire after the
fate of the expedition. At Sansanding, Isaaco met
Amadi Fatouma, the man who had taken his place as
guide and enterpreter to the expedition, and received
from his hands papers which described the voyage of
the Englishmen down the river.
Park and his companions reached Silla and Jenne in
safety ; but at Kabra, the port of Timbuctoo, and at
Gousamo, they were attacked by the natives, who were
only repelled by a sharp musket-fire. At Sawer,
Amadi Fatouma quitted the party, his engagement
ceasing at that town. Immediately thereafter he was
seized and imprisoned by the king, on the pretext that
the expedition had entered his dominions without
making him sufficient presents. Next morning a large
battalion of troops was sent forward to intercept the
The native soldiers took up their position at Boussa,
at a point where the river flowed through a narrow
and rocky pass. When the English party attempted
to sail this narrow channel, they were attacked by
the native troops with spears, arrows, and stones. The
little band of Englishmen defended themselves vigor-
ously for some time ; but at length, believing that all
chance of getting through the channel was over, Park
caught hold of one of his comrades and leaped with
86 PARK'S SECOND JOUBNEY.
him into the river. Lieutenant Martyn followed the
example of his leader, and all were drowned while
attempting to escape by swimming. The natives who
escaped from the canoe narrated the circumstances of
the final catastrophe to Amadi Fatouma upon the
release of the latter from his imprisonment three
Isaaco was absent on his mission for fully twenty
months, and such was the story he brought back with
him to Sierra Leone. Nearly a quarter of a century
later Captain Clapperton, and after him Richard and
John Lander, obtained such evidence in regard to the
manner of Park's death as placed the truth of Amadi
Fatouma's statement almost beyond a doubt.
Thus terminated an expedition conceived under
hopeful and even brilliant auspices, but opposed by
disaster from the very beginning ; and thus its gallant
and noble leader perished.
The witness of friends is unanimous as to the
character of Mungo Park ; but such testimony is not
needed. The man is manifest in his life, and a per-
usal of his journal reveals to any but the most un-
discerning reader what manner of person the great
traveller was. He possessed every qualification for
the arduous task which he undertook and so success-
fully accomplished ; for his intrepid courage was
mingled with the quiet strength of patience, his ardour
united with a calm prudence, his enthusiasm balanced
IN HIS SECOND EXPEDITION
From a Drawing by himself.
15 'J^ov-yv6ucrfav Q
/icruA/U oT tfhig.
PARK'S SECOND JOURNEY. 91
by a shrewd, practical common sense. He was as
completely fitted morally as he was mentally and
physically for the great work of his life ; and we make
bold to say, without fear of challenge, that in no trav-
eller before or since will there be found a happier
union and a finer equipoise of the qualities essential
to a hero of discovery.
From our narrative the reader may gather how
Park bore himself in the chief crises of his two arduous
and perilous journeys ; but he must seek the journal
itself for a full and clear revelation of the traveller's
character. We have referred to the fact that the
work of composition came with difficulty to him, but
nevertheless the journal is a model of what such a
work should be. It is written in an easy and natural
yet animated style, in correct and idiomatic English,
and with a judgment and good taste that are con-
spicuous. There is not a vain or boastful line, not
a self -pitying or impatient sentence in all the book ;
and this in a record of so much vicissitude, hardship,
and peril met and overcome. You learn the traveller's
undaunted courage only from his acts — as simply
narrated as they are possible to be ; and the modesty
of the writer is everywhere as noticeable as his courage.
No one of the innumerable narratives of travel and
adventure that have appeared since leave a more
pleasing impression on the reader than the journal of
CLAPPERTON AND THE LANDERS.
In our epitome of African discovery thus far we have
followed the plan adopted by Mr. Hugh Murray* — that,
namely, of giving an unbroken and consecutive narra-
tive of Park's travels ; the reader being thus enabled
to survey the traveller's career in an uninterrupted
sequence. Between Park's first and second expedition,
however, several journeys of exploration were made
into Central Africa by various travellers. The most
important of these was that undertaken by Frederick
Horneman, a young German student, who set out from
Egypt in the company of a caravan in 1798. Mr.
Horneman was equipped for his expedition by the
African Association. At Siwah, an oasis on the way
to Fezzan, the traveller came upon some very singular
and ancient ruins, a portion of which some have con-
jectured to be the remains of the famous temple of
Jupiter Ammon. Later in his journey he was threat-
* No one who attempts to treat the subject of African discovery can fail to be
under obligations to Mr. Hugh Murray, to whose labours and skill we here acknow-
ledge with gratitude our own indebtedness.
CLAPPERTON AND THE LANDERS. 93
ened with death at the hands of the Arabs, but his
remarkable coolness and presence of mind saved him.
He was so well versed not only in the Mohammedan
language, but in the tenets of the faith, that, with a
little adroitness and assurance, he succeeded in making
the natives believe that he too was a Moslem.
After a difficult and fatiguing journey of sixteen
days, Horneman arrived at Fezzan, where he proposed
to collect information regarding the Niger and Tim-
buctoo. He subsequently visited Tripoli, and then a
period of two years passed without any further word
of the traveller reaching England. He was next
heard of as being at Kashna ; and Major Denham,
during his expedition, ascertained that he had died at
Nyffe on the Niger, stricken down by the climate.
Horneman was succeeded in the work of African
exploration by Mr. Nicholls, who died of fever on the
threshold of his journey. Roentgen, a German, fol-
lowed, to encounter a fate equally brief and sad. His
body was found a little way from his starting-point,
and the probability is that he was murdered by his
guides. Thus three lives, in quick succession, were
added to the roll of victims to the cause of African
The narrative now falls to be resumed at the
period after Park's second journey. Fatal in its issue
as that expedition had been, there were many circum-
stances connected with it calculated rather to stimulate
94 CLAPPERTON AND THE LANDERS.
than depress the public interest in African exploration.
Several problems in regard to Central Africa still
awaited solution; — the exact course of the Niger
throughout its whole extent, and the relation of the
same river to the Congo ; were the two rivers in part
identical, or wholly distinct ?
To endeavour to determine these points, a twin
expedition was despatched to Africa under Govern-
ment auspices in 1816. It was under the command
of Major Peddie and Captain Tuckey. Major Peddie
was to descend the Niger, Captain Tuckey to ascend
the Congo. The expedition encountered difficulties
and disaster almost from the outset, and had at last
to be abandoned. A similar fate befell Captain Grey,
who in 1818 made a gallant but unsuccessful attempt
to follow Park's route.
Nothing further of importance was accomplished
until the missions of Major Denham and Lieutenant
Clapperton in 1821, which proposed to explore
Central Africa, with Tripoli as a starting-point. The
expedition divided itself into two parties — the plan
that had been resolved on being that each should
pursue a separate route and meet again at an agreed
point. Major Denham's journey proved a most varied
and adventurous one, and furnished a great deal of
fresh and interesting information regarding the
country traversed. But Denham's discoveries did not
bear directly upon the Niger, and must, therefore, in
GLAPPERTON AND THE LANDERS. 95
the comparatively limited space at our disposal, be
excluded from our narrative. The two journeys made
by Lieutenant Clapperton, however, fall to be treated
in more detail.
When Clapperton parted from his confrere, Major
Denham, he travelled westward in company with Dr.
Oudney, the second in command of the party. At
Murmur Dr. Oudney died, and Clapperton pushed on
alone. After five weeks of travel Kano was reached
— a large and important town of thirty thousand
inhabitants, carrying on an extensive and varied com-
merce with all parts of Africa. Clapperton found the
markets of Kano filled with a profusion of articles
whose richness and variety astonished him, — cloth of
every description, raw silk, linen from Egypt em-
broidered with gold, Moorish dresses, Maltese sword-
blades, tin and antimony, ornaments in glass, coral,
silver, and pewter, besides live stock and farm and
garden produce, and everywhere long rows of slaves.
Lieutenant Clapperton next halted at Sackatoo, a
large and substantially built town. Here he made
handsome presents to Sultan Bello — a chief described
as being of stately appearance, with a grand head and
fine dark eyes. He received the expedition well, and
showed himself to be possessed of an inquiring mind,
and a degree of enlightenment much beyond his
On the advice of this chief, Clapperton resolved to
96 CLAPPERTON AND THE LANDERS.
proceed no further at present than Sackatoo, having
become convinced that the route to the Gulf of Benin
was impracticable. Before finally leaving Sackatoo
he gathered such information in regard to Park's
death as convinced him that Amadi Fatouma's story
was in all essential particulars true. At Kouka he
rejoined Major Denham ; and the two travellers, having
each accomplished a long and arduous journey, fruit-
ful in interesting discoveries, reached England in June
1825, after an absence of nearly four years.
The results of Denham and Clapperton's expedi-
tions were sufficiently encouraging to induce the British
Government to equip another mission in the very year
of the travellers' return. Clapperton — now a Captain —
was chosen as leader, with Captain Pearce and Mr.
Morrison as his colleagues in command. The party
started on their journey from Badagry early in Decem-
ber. The start was most disastrous ; for the travellers
having slept a night in the open air were presently
prostrated with fever and ague. Mr. Morrison was
obliged to give up the idea of accompanying the
expedition, and died on the way back to the ship.
Captain Pearce struggled on bravely a little longer,
but at last succumbed ; and Captain Clapperton, him-
self much weakened by his sickness, pursued his
journey under peculiarly lonely and depressing con-
ditions. But he had one faithful and devoted com-
panion left in his servant Richard Lander, whose name
CLAPPERTON AND THE LANDERS. 97
in connection with African discovery was one day to
become even more famous than that of his master.
A march of sixty miles brought the little party to
Yarriba, where the travellers were most favourably
received, the people flocking to meet them in every
town through which they passed, and signifying the
honour in which they held the white men by dancing,
festivals, and merry-making.
The next place of importance reached was Tshow.
Here the expedition was overtaken by a bodyguard
sent on by the king of Yarriba, consisting of a number
of the royal troops dressed in the most fantastic of
uniforms, and presenting a wild and formidable appear-
ance beyond description.
At Katunga, Captain Clapperton had an audience
of the king of Yarriba, who received the Englishmen
seated in a veranda. The monarch wore a paste-
board crown, two long tobes, or mantles, of cotton cloth,
and a profusion of glass-bead ornaments. He was
surrounded by troops of his wives — more in number
than Captain Clapperton could account — who wel-
comed the stranger with great cheering, smiling on
him the while with the utmost graciousness.
Captain Clapperton found Yarriba to be a flourish-
ing and prosperous kingdom, justly and leniently
governed, and practising few of the dark and barbar-
ous customs common in Ashantee and Dahomey and
many neighbouring states. Polygamy, to be sure..
98 CLAPPERTON AND THE LANDERS.
largely prevails. And when Captain Clapperton as-
sured several of the chief men of Katunga that the
king of England had but one wife, the statement was
received with mingled amazement and pity that so
great a sovereign should be in so forlorn and desolate
a case. The king of Yarriba was proud to think
that his own wives, hand joined in hand, would
stretch from one end of his dominions to the other.
From Yarriba Clapperton passed into the Borgoo
country, presently arriving at the city of Kiama, an
important place of thirty thousand inhabitants. The
party was met by the king himself, accompanied by a
peculiar but striking bodyguard. Six young girls
wearing girdles of beads, and with their hair bound
with fillets, ran beside the king's horse, each maiden
brandishing three spears. As they ran they bounded
and leaped with a lightness and agility that had the
appearance of flying, while their motions were as full
of grace as swiftness, and their eyes sparkled with
vivacity. By-and-by the damsels, laying aside their
lances, robed themselves in blue mantles and waited
on the king.
After departing from Kiama, Captain Clapperton
and his companions reached Wa-wa. Here the most
amusing episode certainly in the whole journey oc-
curred. A certain wealthy widow, called Zuma, con-
ceived a violent affection for the leader of the expedi-
tion, whom she favoured with a degree of attention
CLAPPERTON AND THE LANDERS. 99
that became nothing short of persecution. The widow,
though little past her twentieth year, was a lady of
more than embonpoint — of such ample proportions, in
fact, that Captain Clapperton could find no fitter
comparison for her than a ' walking tun-butt." This
pronounced style of beauty Zuma emphasized by her
manner of dressing, loading her person with bright
and gaudy finery, and a profusion of ornaments of
gold, coral, and beads ; while her hair she dyed blue,
her eyebrows black, and her hands and feet red.
Thus equipped, the widow laid siege to Captain
Clapperton's heart, which, however, remained proof
against her most cunning blandishments. Finding
the chief of the expedition impregnable, she directed
the battery of her smiles upon his lieutenant and
servant Richard Lander ; but with a like result.
Lander was an extremely prudent and cool-tempered
young man ; and Zuma's charms, which were still
noticeable notwithstanding her extreme plumpness,
made no impression upon him. The lady now re-
newed her attack upon Captain Clapperton with fresh
energy, and nothing short of flight from Wa-wa rid
the Englishman of her persecutions. Signs were not
wanting that other considerations besides those of
affection influenced the widow's action. It was
rumoured that she cherished ambitious designs of
supplanting the king upon his throne — a project in
which she trusted to be materially aided by marriage
100 CLAPPERTON AND THE LANDERS.
with a young and brave Englishman. Altogether,
Captain Clapperton experienced a very decided feel-
ing of relief when he was finally rid of this ambitious
and redoubtable African beauty.
Clapperton presently visited Boussa, the scene of
Park's death ; but sufficient reference has already
been made to this episode in his journey. Crossing
the Niger, and passing through Nyffe, the mission ar-
rived at Zeg-zeg, an exceedingly fertile region, beau-
tifully wooded, and rich with meadow and corn-land.
The next halt was at Kano, Clapperton's old
quarters, which he now found in all the distress and
confusion of war. The king of Bornou was at deadly
feud with the Fellata, and the travellers beheld signs
of battle on every side. At the sultan's advice Cap-
tain Clapperton betook himself with his companions
to Sackatoo, and was there lodged in the same hut
which he had formerly occupied. This was the
traveller's last halting-place. It was not to be per-
mitted him to complete the journey which he had
thus far carried through with such intrepidity and
with so much success. He was exhausted by illness ;
but other causes besides bodily weakness combined to
The kindly and sympathetic attitude of the natives
towards the English mission, which we saw so con-
spicuously displayed during Captain Clapperton's
previous journey, had now changed to a feeling of
CLAPPERTON AND THE LANDERS. 101
suspicion and distrust. A rumour, entirely without
foundation, was abroad throughout Houssa that the
British nation meditated an invasion of the country.
Influenced by this idea, King Bello now acted with
great discourtesy and harshness towards Captain Clap-
perton, seizing by force a letter which he was bearing
to the king of Bornou. Clapperton bitterly resented
this treatment, and spoke his mind out very freely to
the king ; which only had the effect of still further
irritating the jealous and angry prince. The English-
man was detained as a prisoner, and even threatened
with personal violence ; but matters did not reach
Thus disappointment and vexation, chafing Clapper-
ton's eager and brave spirit, united with sickness to
wear out a frame already debilitated by the long
effects of an African climate. He was prostrated
with dysentery, which presently took a fatal develop-
ment. The closing scenes of the traveller's life form
a very touching picture. He was nursed day and
night by his servant Richard Lander with more than
a woman's watchfulness and gentle care. Towards
the end the dying man called Lander to his side.
" Richard, I shall shortly be no more. I feel my-
self dying," he said.
Almost choked with grief, Lander could only reply,
" God forbid, my dear master ; you will live many
102 CLAPPERTON AND THE LANDERS.
" Don't be so much affected, my dear boy, I entreat
you," answered Clapperton. " It is the will of the
Almighty ; it cannot be helped."
Then the dying master proceeded to instruct his
attendant in regard to his journals and the course he
wished him to pursue after he was dead. Finally,
taking Lander's hand in his own, he gazed into his
face, and with his eyes moist with tears said in low
and deeply-affected voice, —
" My dear Richard, if you had not been with me I
should have died long ago. I can only thank you
with my latest breath for your kindness and attach-
ment to me ; and if I could have lived to return with
you, you should have been placed beyond the reach of
want ; but God will reward you."
A few days later the brave traveller quietly
breathed his last. The strong attachment which
existed between Clapperton and Lander is evident in
various letters from the former to the latter, in which
the master expresses an affectionate desire for the
welfare and happiness of his servant most pleasing to
contemplate. Clapperton was a kind and large-
hearted man, as well as one of most fearless courage,
capable of great patience under difficulty and disaster,
and of a bright and buoyant temperament that carried
him lightly through many a delicate and trying
After Clapperton's death King Bello's attitude to-
CLAPPERTON AND THE LANDERS. 103
wards the expedition softened somewhat. He allowed
Lander to bury his master quietly and decently, suf-
fered him to depart from the country, and even for-
warded him on his homeward route. After a journey
of considerable vicissitude and danger, in the course
of which he made a praiseworthy but unsuccessful
attempt to discover the termination of the Niger,
Richard Lander reached the coast, and arrived in
England in April 1828.
Brief mention must in this place be made of Major
Laing's journey to Timbuctoo, which was contempo-
raneous with Clapperton's second expedition. During
his short stay at Timbuctoo, Laing was able to add
materially to our knowledge of the topography of the
district. The traveller's journey had the same tragic
and sad ending as that of so many of his predecessors.
He was murdered by his guide, a Moorish merchant,
who had undertaken to conduct him to the coast.
It will be seen that there still existed much
uncertainty in regard to the course of the Niger.
What was accurately known was this : — In his first
journey, Park had traced the course of the river be-
tween Bammakoo and Silla, and had also ascertained
that it rose in the same mountainous range a"s the
Senegal. In his second expedition he determined the
river's course below Silla as far as Timbuctoo. Clap-
perton had fixed the position of Boussa beyond Tim-
buctoo, but the actual course of the river between those
104 CLAPPERTON AND THE LANDERS.
two towns remained still to be explored. It was re-
served for Richard and John Lander to determine this
still undiscovered portion of the great river. The
three most famous names connected with the Niger
are undoubtedly those of Park, and Richard and John
Lander, if we regard the work accomplished from the
point of view of its success. The Landers, in a word,
completed what Park had begun ; and the important
results of their expedition, as well as its intrinsic
interest, deserve that it should be treated with as
much detail as our remaining space will allow.
The British Government having resolved to equip
an expedition for the purpose of exploring the Niger
below Boussa, Richard Lander volunteered his services
as its leader. He was accompanied by his younger
brother John, to whom a due measure of the honour of
the expedition must in justice be accorded, and who not
only shared with his elder brother every toil and hard-
ship, but materially assisted him with his journals.
The brothers sailed from England in January 1830,
and arrived at Cape Coast Castle towards the end of
the following month. Accompanied by a small party
of natives and the interpreter Pascoe, they reached
Badagry on the 21st of March. Here they remained
for several days, detained by the king, whose rapacity
would not permit him to let the Englishmen quit his
dominions while he could extract from them another
CLAPPERTON AND THE LANDERS. 105
This region the travellers describe as a fertile and
beautiful one, but its people as idle, covetous, and lax
in moral tone. Their religion is largely the Moham-
medan ; and the Landers, during their sojourn in
Badagiy, witnessed certain of their ceremonial ob-
The ensemble of the scene presented a spectacle of
no little interest, from its novelty and strangeness.
On a sandy tract of ground encircled by trees the
travellers discovered a number of Mussulmans in the
act of ablution and worship. Every company of fresh
arrivals was greeted by a burst of music from a native
band. Every one wore his gayest bravery — loose
mantles, caps and turbans in the greatest variety, and
of the gaudiest colours ; while the scarfs and aprons
of the worshippers glittered with golden embroidery
and silver spangles. At the conclusion of the cere-
mony, drums, bells, and fifes combined with volleys
of musketry to raise a deafening din.
The chief industry of Badagry is fishing, together
with yam and maize growing. The fish is taken
either with the net or by spearing, or by a curious
and ingenious earthenware pot baited with palm oil.
The huts of the natives are of neat construction, made
of bamboo, and roofed with palm leaves.
The travellers left Badagry on the last day of
March in a canoe lent them by the king, Adooley.
Slowly they glided in their long narrow vessel down
106 CLAPPERTON AND THE LANDERS.
the silent river, a starry sky and a bright moon guid-
ing them on their way. The scenery was wild and
picturesque, but could not be described as grand, the
river banks being low and partially wooded with
small trees, varied ever and anon by one of larger
growth — a majestic palm rising in solitary grandeur,
its stately plume of foliage waving softly in the night
wind. Now and then a slave-factory or a fetich-hut
was noted as the canoe floated noiselessly on.
In a little while the river narrowed to a breadth of
not more than twenty yards, while its surface became
covered with a wealth of marine plants, from which
there arose, in a dense cloud, a reeking and noxious
miasma. But the stream again broadened, the float-
ing plants disappeared, the vegetation on the banks
grew richer and more beautiful, until the trees were
so thick that they formed an arch above the heads of
the voyagers that effectually shielded them from the
hot sun. The river now abounded with alligators
and hippopotami, while monkeys and parrots, wild
ducks and other birds, were seen on all sides.
On the 6th of April the two brothers reached Jenne,
where they were hospitably entertained by the gover-
nor. The inhabitants of this district are described as
temperate and diligent — diligent, that is, for a people
dwelling in a land where but a slight amount of
labour yields a sufficient sustenance for daily wants.
Katunga was reached on the 13th of May. King
CLAPPERTON AND THE LANDERS. 109
Mansolah received the mission favourably. On the
occasion of the travellers' first audience with this chief
he was dressed in a style of great, though somewhat
incongruous, magnificence. His crown resembled in
shape a bishop's mitre, and was decorated with a pro-
fusion of coral beads, and secured beneath the chin to
prevent it from falling off. His mantle was a wonder-
ful patchwork of green silk, crimson damask, and
green velvet. His feet were clad in English cotton
stockings, and native sandals of neat workmanship ;
and beneath him was spread a carpet of fine blue
cloth, the gift of Captain Clapperton.
In the end of May the expedition halted at Kiama,
entering a region whose people differed in many re-
spects — in language, customs, and religion — from
those among whom their route had hitherto led them.
Here the brothers were accommodated in a large cir-
cular hut, the centre support of which was composed
of the stem of a tree. Two apertures gave entrance
and egress to the hut, over which charms were sus-
pended as a security against fire, much in the same
way as horse-shoes are still, in our enlightened Eng-
land, nailed up over barn doors for " luck." The
walls of the cabin were covered with bows and
quivers, guns, swords, spears, and other weapons.
Outside, the scene was sufficiently novel and strik-
ing. Although a thunderstorm was at its height,
native men, women, and children were seated in
110 CLAPPERTON AND THE LANDERS.
groups on the ground, or gathered about several large
fires asleep. The men carried their weapons by their
sides, and their horses grazed near at hand, while the
lurid firelight lit up the half-naked figures of all.
Presently entering Kiama, the Landers had an audi-
ence of King Yarro, who received them alone, seated
on buffalo hides. The walls of the room were deco-
rated with well-executed prints of King George the
Fourth, the Duke of York, Lord Nelson, the Duke of
Wellington, and a portrait of a gaily-dressed and
smiling English lady. Here and there on the walls
were fastened ragged scraps of paper inscribed with
passages from the Koran. The floor was strewn con-
fusedly with muskets, handsomely ornamented spears,
and other weapons of war.
The travellers, departing from Kiama, reached a
place called Kakafungi, a large straggling town, finely
situated on a level plain, the inhabitants of which
were so clean in their persons, so well-mannered, and
possessed of such neat and comfortable houses, that
the Englishmen were immediately prepossessed in
their favour. These first impressions were but
strengthened by the subsequent conduct of the Kaka-
fungians. The travellers were provided with a capital
hut, and their entertainers waited on them in a body,
bringing with them two kids and an ample supply of
corn and milk, the whole being presented by a little
band of boys and girls !
CLAPPERTON AND THE LANDERS. Ill
On the 17th of June, Boussa was reached — an im-
portant stage in the journey, by reason of the inter-
esting relics of Mr. Park which were here discovered.
As the two brothers sat on the rocky promontory
overlooking the spot where Park and his comrades
met their death, serious and sad thoughts could not
but arise in their breasts, as they recalled the fate not
only of the peerless explorer Park himself, but of the
many gallant men who had followed in his track and
sacrificed their lives for the same end — the endeavour
to unriddle the mystery of the strange and fateful
river on whose waters they were now gazing.
The travellers received from a native a tobe of rich
crimson damask, stiff with the quantity of gold em-
broidery upon it, which there was strong evidence to
prove had belonged to Mr. Park. A day or two later
the travellers received a visit from the king, bringing
with him a book said to have been recovered from the
water after the upsetting of the canoe which held Park
and his companions. The volume was wrapped up in
a cotton cloth, and was of considerable size. The
hopes of the Landers rose high that the book would
prove to be Mr. Park's journal, and their disappoint-
ment was proportionately great on discovering that it
was only an obsolete nautical treatise. Between the
leaves, however, a few slight relics of the great
traveller were found — one or two papers of no intrinsic
importance, but bearing his handwriting and signature.
112 CLAPPERTON AND THE LANDERS.
Some days afterwards, at Yaoorie, a gun which had
been Mr. Park's was also recovered, one of the Landers
giving his own in exchange for it to an Arab in whose
possession it was.
After some delay two canoes were procured by the
brothers, for their return voyage from Yaoorie. Boussa
was again reached on the 5th of August ; and the
Landers now resolved to make for Wowou, to procure
a vessel better adapted for their purpose than those
which they at present possessed. They were ultimately
successful in this plan, though the arrival of the
canoe promised them by the king of Wowou did not
take place until the middle of the following month. On
the 20th of September, everything being at length in
readiness, the explorers embarked from Boussa in two
canoes. But a short span of their voyage was accom-
plished when it was discovered that the smaller of the
canoes was extremely leaky and in risk of sinking :
and at midday therefore a halt had to be made at a
little island called Melalie, in order to cobble up the
boat. The next camping-place was on a large and
beautiful island called Patashie, remarkably rich and
fertile, and shady with groves of magnificent palms.
Having procured a water-tight canoe, the voyagers
were once more afloat upon the river, and for some
distance sailed on without delay or hindrance. Ar-
riving at Lever, or, as the town is frequently called.
Layaba, they remained till the beginning of October.
CLAPPERTON AND THE LANDERS. 113
Here the channel of the Niger was deep and clear,
and its breadth from one to three miles.
On October the 4th a large town was reached called
Bajiebo, to which the Landers give the palm among
African towns for confusion and dirt, and disagreeables
of every description. Here the travellers saw canoes
of a peculiar description, different from any they had
yet met with. They were large, made each of a single
tree-stem, and bulwarked high with planks. Many of
the canoes had huts built on them, thatched with
straw, in which whole families lived together, carrying
on their whole household operations.
On October 6 th, on departing from the island of
Madjie, where the travellers had camped for the night,
they journeyed swiftly down the river, and presently
came suddenly in sight of a lofty and picturesque
rock called Mount Kesa ; which, rising sheer from the
water to a height of three hundred feet, cone-shaped
and girdled with stately trees, made an exceedingly
noble and imposing feature in the landscape.
The voyagers next reached the island of Belee,
where they had an interview with the chief, an im-
portant personage in his own estimation, and rejoicing
in a high-sounding but not unpoetical title — the King
of the Dark Water. This chieftain made an imposing
approach to the travellers. A sound of men singing
was heard in the distance, then the dip of paddles
keeping time to the voices, but still nothing was seen.
114 CLAPPERTON AND THE LANDERS.
Presently a canoe came in sight, then a second and
much larger one, rowed by a score of stalwart youths,
who sang as they rowed. The travellers were sur-
prised at the " pomp and circumstance " of the whole
procession, the royal barge being gaily ornamented
with awnings and scarlet cloth embroidered with gold
lace. Three or four young pages, becomingly attired,
stood at the prow, and in the stern a band of hand-
some musicians. All the retinue were well and ap-
The King of the Dark Water, whose name was
Suliken Rouah, treated the travellers with kingly
munificence, presenting them with a jar of fine honey,
two thousand cowries in money, and a large quantity
of goora nuts, a description of food highly esteemed in
Africa. He was a man of venerable and commanding
appearance, and by reason of his wealth and power
was no doubt entitled to the importance to which he
The Landers at this stage of their journey exchanged
their two canoes for one, and once more embarked on
the river. They had sailed about thirty miles when
they came upon a perfect swarm of hippopotami, which
rose on all sides of the canoe, plunging, splashing, and
snorting, and placing the frail vessel in great danger.
A shot or two was fired at the great brutes, but only
with the result of summoning a fresh horde up from
the depths of the river and out of the neighbouring
CLAPPERTON AND THE LANDERS. 115
marshes. The natives in the canoe became terror-
struck ; and to add to the panic, a violent thunder-
storm, succeeded by dense darkness, only illumined by
occasional lightning flashes, burst suddenly over the
heads of the party. The rowers pulled as for life,
however, and after some hard rowing the swarm of
hippopotami was left behind, and a little fishing village
was reached, where the voyagers very gladly landed.
On October 19th Egga was reached, a town of great
extent, in the centre of a fertile and fruitful region.
Here the Englishmen were kindly enough treated by
the aged king, a good-natured and gay-hearted old
man, who bore a long tale of years with astonishing-
vigour and lightness of spirit. For the delectation of
his guests, and also.no doubt to display his unabated
activity, the merry old chief performed a pas seul in
their presence with surprising agility and nimbleness,
until he seemed literally to " frisk beneath the burden"
of his years.
After leaving Egga, the next place at which the
Landers camped was Kacunda. About this point in
its course the Niger changes its direction to south-
south-west ; and forty miles farther on it is joined by
the Ishadda, by the influx of which the width of the
main river is increased to between three and four miles.
By the end of October Damugoo was reached, where
the Landers were very well received by the chief, who
provided them with a canoe and a crew to conduct
116 CLAPPERTON AND THE LANDERS.
them to the coast. Shortly after leaving Damugoo
the expedition had an unexpected encounter with a
party of hostile natives near a large market town
called Kirree. A fleet of canoes were observed moored
by the banks of the river — of large size, and having
flags flying from bamboo poles. No notice was taken
of these canoes, but a little while afterwards the
voyagers beheld a number of them coming up the
river full of men, and decorated with flags. The
travellers were allowing themselves to enjoy the lively
and pleasing appearance presented by this native
flotilla, when their feelings of gratification were
quickly changed by the sudden warlike demonstra-
tions of the advancing canoes.
A large canoe was quickly alongside that of the
travellers, and with marvellous rapidity the whole of
their property was transferred from one boat to the
other. This unceremonious treatment was altogether
too much for the temper of the Englishmen, and
despite the enormous odds against them they began
to show fight. Richard Lander, taking deliberate aim
with his musket at the leader of the savages, a tall
brawny fellow, would the next moment have sent a
bullet through his body had not the weapon been
wrested from his grasp by three more of the black
men. Then Lander seized hold of another man, while
Pascoe, the guide, with a well-aimed blow of his paddle,
sent an opponent reeling backward into the canoe.
CLAPPERTON AND THE LANDERS. 117
Daunted by the determined resistance of the white
men, the men in the canoes made no further attack
upon them. But the Landers had now lost every-
thing ; — clothes, medicine-chest, four guns (including
that of Mr. Park) ; four cutlasses, two pistols, a number
of very fine elephants' tusks (a present from the
kings of Wowou and Boussa) ; a quantity of leopard
skins, ostrich feathers, cowries, and other valuables ;
and finally, what was as serious a loss as any, the
greater part of Richard Lander's journal.
In these disastrous circumstances the travellers
determined to land at a town called Kirree, where,
having reported the whole proceedings, they were in-
formed that their case would be taken into considera-
tion by the chief men. The Englishmen found friends
at Kirree ready to sympathize with and aid them, and
a palaver having been held, the outcome of the matter
was, that the offenders, the robbers who had so shame-
lessly plundered the white men, were punished, and a
part of their stolen property was recovered by the
travellers. On the whole, this was perhaps the most
threatening and disastrous episode in the journey ;
for not only had the Landers suffered serious loss of
property, but had been in instant peril of their lives.
The voyagers arrived next at Eboe. Shortly before
reaching the town they passed through a vast sheet of
water like a lake, with low, swampy margin, thickly
clothed with palm-trees. Here a considerable river,
118 CLAPPERTON AND THE LANDERS.
forming an important tributary of the Niger, flowed
westward, while another took a south-easterly direction.
At Eboe the Landers were detained by King Obie,
who, seeing an opportunity of obtaining a valuable
ransom, was determined not to let it escape him. He
required a present of English goods equivalent in
value to twenty slaves. The brothers were both
amazed and disconcerted by the amount of this de-
mand, being entirely without hope of satisfying it.
The prospect before them was gloomy in the extreme
— indefinite detention at Eboe; but from their critical
situation they were at length released by the inter-
vention of King Boy of Brass Town, who promised to
pay the sum demanded by King Obie, and to conduct
the travellers safely to the end of their journey, if he
was guaranteed a present equal to fifteen slaves, and
the addition of a cask of rum on the arrival of the
Englishmen at the coast. To this compact of King
Boy the Landers very gladly agreed, and the travel-
lers departed from Eboe conducted by King Boy.
At Brass Town the travellers were witnesses of a
curious fetich ceremony. The priests began their
operations by chalking King Boy from head to foot
with circles, lines, and various fantastic devices, that
so completely disguised his majesty that he was
scarcely recognizable. Then having been disrobed of
his usual dress, a small silk handkerchief was bound
about his waist, while on his head was placed a close-
CLAPPERTON AND THE LANDERS. 119
fitting cap, decorated with the white and black feathers
of a buzzard. When the king had taken in his hands
two large chalked spears, his ensemble was as wild and
strange as it was grotesque. His retinue were then
similarly operated on, and finally the fetich priests
John Lander remained behind at Brass Town, while
Richard proceeded to the coast. The English brig
Thomas was lying at anchor in the Nun, a branch of
the Niger, and Richard Lander immediately laid his
position before the commander, Captain Lake, little
doubting but that he would furnish means whereby
King Boy's claims would be satisfied. In this hope
he was grievously disappointed, Captain Lake showing
a want of sympathy with the brothers in their strait
for which it is difficult to account. He absolutely
refused to advance the sum due to King Boy for his
services ; and Richard and John Lander, the latter of
whom had now arrived from Brass Town, were obliged
to depart in the brig, leaving King Boy in bitterness
and dejection of spirit at not having received his pro-
mised reward. Nothing which the travellers could
say availed to assure the chief that sooner or later he
would receive the whole sum due to him ; but on the
return of the Landers to England, King Boy was paid
his debt in full and with interest.
The travellers reached home on the 10th of June
1831. The success of their expedition was complete
120 CLAPPERTON AND THE LANDERS,
and indisputable, and the brothers Lander received
from their countrymen the full measure of honours
which they had so fairly earned. They had solved
the problem of African exploration which had baffled
so many previous travellers as courageous and enter-
prising but less fortunate than they, and had supplied
the last link to the chain necessary to complete our
knowledge of the Niger.
The journey of the Landers was far from being an
easy and successful one throughout. In a rapid sketch
of the expedition such as the foregoing, the many
difficulties of the journey — the almost daily hardship,
the sickness, the weariness, the disappointments, the
frequent dejection and loneliness of spirit inseparable
from African travel, all of which are rather matter of
detail — do not fully appear. But a perusal of the
travellers' journal itself reveals the innumerable
obstacles with which the two brothers had to contend,
and which only great fortitude, judgment, patience,
and tact could have overcome. The written account
of the expedition comprises a part of the journal of
each of the brothers, and is written in a lively and
interesting style, that portion contributed by John
Lander, who had received a better education, and pos-
sessed greater literary facility than his elder brother,
being especially marked by a fertile fancy and a
power of vivid description.
Richard Lander was to take part in yet one other
CLAPPERTON AND THE LANDERS. 121
African expedition. A scheme having been set on
foot by a number of Liverpool merchants, whereby
they hoped that commercial relations might be estab-
lished with the natives along the banks of the Niger,
two steamboats were fitted out — the Quorra and the
Alburkah. The services of Richard Lander as leader
of the enterprise were accepted. Messrs. Laird and
Oldfield were second in command, and a strong party
of other Europeans completed the expedition, which
left England in July 1832.
The narrative of the voyage of the Quorra and the
Alburkah, as told by Messrs. Laird and Oldfield, is
full of interest. The expedition halted at many of
the places visited by the Landers and other travellers,
and had negotiations with several of the native chiefs
already mentioned in these pages. Among the most
interesting episodes in the voyage was an interview
with King Obie, whose name the reader will recall in
connection with the homeward journey of the Landers.
In that instance the African chief had displayed a
considerable degree of extortion as regards the value
of the present which he demanded from the travellers,
but in his dealings with the present mission he showed
himself extremely conciliatory and amiable.
King Obie met the English party, richly arrayed in
scarlet cloth, and adorned with massive coral chains,
bracelets, and other ornaments, amounting in value to
nearly one hundred pounds. Having shaken hands
122 CLAPPERTON AND THE LANDERS.
with Mr. Lander and Mr. Laird with great cordiality,
he placed one on each side of his throne. The English-
men were surprised at the pleasant and " gentlemanly"
manner of King Obie ; the latter epithet being most
fairly applicable to the chief's whole conduct towards
the travellers, for it was uniformly considerate and
generous both in good and evil fortune.
The English party received from King Obie a
present of a fine bullock, five goats, and three hundred
yams. On the following morning a pleasing proof of
the regular industry of King Obie's subjects was wit-
nessed. At sunrise a large number of canoes of all
sizes left the town, to collect palm oil, yams, and other
commodities of the country ; and towards evening the
fleet — in number not less than a hundred and fifty —
were seen dropping down the river again, laden with
their cargoes of yams, bananas, and gourds full of
On that day King Obie paid a visit to Mr. Lander
on the Alburkah. His escort consisted of seven large
war-canoes filled with rowers. Having dined with
Mr. Lander, the chief remained some hours on board
the vessel, and finally took his leave under a royal
salute. He was escorted home by two of the sailors,
whom he entertained at his own house with palm oil
and roasted yams. This cordiality and good-fellowship
were not confined to the king ; all his subjects vied
in their attentions to the members of the expedition.
CLAPPERTON AND THE LANDERS. 125
As a commercial enterprise this mission — the last
which we are to consider — proved a failure. The
attempt to establish a trade intercourse with Central
Africa came to nothing. Yet the expedition was not
without results; the most important of which was, that
it proved beyond a doubt that the mighty stream of
the Niger was navigable for purposes of commerce
from its mouth as far as Boussa.
Our rapid survey of African discovery in one im-
portant direction has, we trust, proved how deeply
interesting is the whole subject of African exploration.
Since the date of the formation of the African Associa-
tion the world's interest in the " Dark Continent " has
continued to grow and deepen, down to the present
day. This interest is undoubtedly a healthy and
natural one — it is an interest in the spread of knowl-
edge, of civilization, and of Christianity. The vast
African continent has year by year grown a little less
" dark;" and as nation by nation and tribe by tribe of
its dusky millions are reclaimed from darkness and
linked to the rest of the discovered world, it is to
emerge, we may surely hope, into the light of civiliza-
tion, and finally of Christianity.
Our narrative has shown how many noble and gal-
lant lives have been spent and lost in one field of
African exploration ; and to these must be added all
those lost in other directions of the same work. But
who shall say they have been lives vainly sacrificed?
126 CLAPPERTON AND THE LANDERS.
Are they not all to be reckoned rather as parts of that
vicarious sacrifice without which, it would seem, the
progress of the world cannot subsist ?
Even this brief narrative has, we think, furnished
abundant proof of how capable the negro race is of
humanizing influences ; and the story of African dis-
covery generally bears witness to the same fact. From
Park to Moffat, and from Moffat to Stanley, the jour-
nals of every African traveller contain testimony more
or less ample and conclusive to the truth of our state-
ment. In these pages we have seen the African native
sometimes fickle and inconstant, wily and rapacious ;
but we have seen him far more often gentle and
faithful, warm-hearted and compassionate. We recall
Park, again and again ministered to in hunger, naked-
ness, and sickness, with tender and pitying care ; the
brothers Lander, helped and cheered on their journey
by many a deed of gentleness or of generosity ; we
think of Livingstone, spending years in the heart of
the African wilderness, a solitary and lonely white
man, without a single comrade of his own race to
share his exile, but tended by his dark-skinned com-
panions with the most watchful solicitude, loved and
reverenced in life as a father and a teacher, and
mourned in death with a sorrow at once too simple
and too deep to be doubted ; we remember Stanley in
his adventurous and perilous journey testifying again
and again that never had he known more faithful
CLAPPERTON AND THE LANDERS. 127
and devoted comradeship than that which he re-
ceived from his negro companions ; — and recalling
these and a hundred kindred instances, the unpreju-
diced and candid mind must acknowledge that the
negro character is capable of a high degree of af-
fection, of gentleness, of self-sacrifice, devotion, and
Since the attention of England was first turned to
the subject of African exploration much time and
money and life has been spent in the work; but who,
we repeat, will choose to say that either the time or
the money or even the life has been wasted, if by their
loss Africa is now emerging from the darkness of
heathendom and savagery into the light of civilization,
gentleness, and truth ?
Volunteers for the work of African discovery have
never failed — they are as promptly forthcoming now
as they ever were ; and almost every year witnesses
some fresh and splendid achievement in this field of
geographical enterprise. The records of African ex-
ploration furnish examples of courage and endurance,
of patience, self -discipline, and self-sacrifice, that rise
to the highest heroism : hardship, disaster, and death
itself have never dismayed the African pioneer. When
the last hero has ended his career only in a grave in
the wilderness, a successor has never been wanting to
tread in the same path. The torch has been passed
on from one victorious or from one dying hand to
128 CLAPPERTON AND THE LANDERS.
another — the line has never been entirely broken ; as
one has fallen, another has been immediately at hand
to fill up the breach —
" Each stepping where his comrade stood
The instant that he fell."
EXPLORATION OF THE NIGER AND BENUEH
BY M. ADOLPHE BURDO.
Having thus surveyed exploration in Western Africa
in the past, we purpose giving the reader an idea of
what has been done in the same direction in recent
times. With this object in view, we cannot do better
than present a brief summary of the travels of
M. Adolphe Burdo, one of the latest explorers of the
Niger and the regions watered by it.
M. Burdo left France in April 1878, and having
arrived at Sierra Leone, proceeded thence to Bonny,
situated in the delta of the Niger. The unhealthy
climate of this region renders it impossible for the
European inhabitants to live on the land. Resort is
had, therefore, to hulks moored at the mouths of the
rivers, which serve both as dwelling-houses and for
purposes of commerce. The present king of Bonny,
George Peppel, deserves a word of mention. He
passed the early years of his life in England, and, in
the midst of a still semi-savage and heathen race,
. (94) 9
130 BURDO' S EXPLORATION.
comports himself in most respects like a European.
Some time ago the English nation presented him
with a small steamer, aided by which the king carries
on a brisk trade in palm oil.
At Bonny M. Burdo was told that it would be
impossible to reach the Niger from that point. He
therefore proceeded to Brass, and there began his
preparations for his voyage on the great river by
procuring a half-decked canoe and engaging twelve
Kroomen to man it. In a little while all was ready
for the start, and the canoe was afloat on one of the
innumerable creeks which form the delta of the Niger.
The utter solitude and gloom which reign over
this portion of the Niger, exert a most depressing
influence on the traveller beginning his long voyage.
Destitute alike of flower or grass as well as of
almost all animal life, the only sound that breaks the
tomb-like silence is the mournful swaying of the
slimy-branched aquatic trees from which here and
there long snakes may be seen trailing.
The progress made by the party was slow and
unsatisfactory. Again and again their course was
completely arrested by impenetrable barriers of man-
groves. The fresh provisions became exhausted, and
no human habitations were visible on the banks. On
the fourth day from the start, the conclusion forced
itself upon M. Burdo that he had lost his way in this
dreary maze of creeks and mangrove swamps. De-
BURDO' S EXPLORATION. 131
spondency and terror now took possession of the
Kroomen, and they abandoned their rowing. It was
with the greatest difficulty that M. Burdo succeeded
in reanimating their drooping spirits, and inspiring
them with sufficient energy to renew their labours.
After a time the channel in which the canoe was
sailing widened, and M. Burdo was in hopes that his
difficulties were so far over, and that his further
progress would be unimpeded. But he soon discovered
that the creek, instead of leading in the direction of
the Niger, was evidently bearing them towards the
sea, and presently the water became quite salt.
Darkness fell : the channel became wider and
wider, and presently a light was descried on the
bank. The canoe was steered for the welcome beacon,
but the current now became so strong that the
voyagers were borne past the light and hurried
rapidly towards the open ocean.
A noise as of breaking surf was now heard, and a
white line was visible straight ahead. A new danger
threatened the party. The white line could only be
the surf dashing against the reefs that barred the
mouth of the river. Anchor was at once cast, and
the canoe brought up with so sudden a shock as
almost to break the cable.
The Kroomen slept, but M. Burdo's anxiety was
too great to admit of slumber. The cable might
break at any moment, and the canoe be hurried to
132 BUBDO'S EXPLORATION.
instant destruction. By morning, however, the
violence of the current had lessened, for the tide
had turned. A factory was observed on the bank of
the river, and towards it the canoe was at once
steered. The station at which the party now landed
was Akassa, and the stream which had come so near
to being the destruction of the explorers was the
Nun, which M. Burdo had been especially anxious
to avoid on account of the impetuosity of its current.
Akassa is destined to be a place of importance,
should the Niger and Benueh one day be opened to
the European trader, for it would probably then
become the point of union between the factories on
these rivers and the countries of Europe.
From Akassa M. Burdo and his party were con-
veyed by the steamer of the African Company to
Onitsha, up the broad and rapid stream of the Nun.
Emerging from this river, the Niger itself was at last
gained, and the scenery at once entirely changed its
character. The sombre maze of creeks and the inter-
minable mangrove swamps which, as has been indicated,
characterize the delta, gave place to a broad and
noble river, its banks clothed with all the luxuriance
of African vegetation. Cocoa-nut, banana, and cotton
trees waved their branches against the sky, and birds
of rainbow plumage fluttered amid the thick leafage,
while ever and again a village peeped out from
behind its green bower.
BURDO'S EXPLORATION. 133
En route to Onitsha, Aboh was stopped at, the
largest town in the district, and commercially one of
the most active. An energetic and warlike race, the
natives of Aboh are extremely jealous of the white
man. They are at incessant feud with the neighbour-
ing tribes, pass their lives chiefly on the water, and,
in short, are little else than a race of pirates.
Onitsha lies on the left bank of the Niger, in lati-
tude 6° 8' north. Taking leave of the little steamer
and its captain, M. Burdo now disembarked. At this
point two of his followers deserted, and two others
having proved equally faithless at Akassa, the expedi-
tion was reduced to eight men exclusive of the leader.
It was market-day when M. Burdo arrived at
Onitsha, and the river was thronged with canoes,
while the banks were lined with a motley and excited
crowd of traders from the town itself and from the
neighbouring tribes. The market-place presented a
curious sight. Women offered their wares for sale,
consisting chiefly of palm oil and ivory, together with
beads, calicoes, and gin or rum. The men walked in
and out among the saleswomen and made their pur-
chases, cowries being the medium of exchange. A
great diversity of race was to be noticed among the
negroes, and their colour varied from ebony to copper.
The king of Onitsha received M. Burdo with signal
marks of friendliness, and with all the pomp he could
command. He was seated in the royal hut on a
134 BURDO'S EXPLORATION.
carpet of red velvet, dressed in a green mantle, and
on his head a large hat of leaves decorated with a
plume of white feathers. He was surrounded by a
large suite of attendants.
To the words of salutation and congratulation
addressed to him by M. Burdo the king returned a
gracious reply, and then offered the stranger palm
wine and kolas, a sort of almonds, red and of a bitter
taste. M. Burdo was then requested to be seated —
a conspicuous mark of favour on the negro monarch's
part, as no one of his own people is permitted to sit
in his presence.
The customary exchange of presents followed, and
the king seemed well contented with the white man's
gift — a parcel of calicoes, with bead-strings, mirrors,
and a knife. M. Burdo received from his host in
return a welcome addition to his stock of provisions,
in the shape of fowls, bananas, a jar of palm wine,
and a whole ox.
M. Burdo found that the women of Onitsha occupy
a somewhat less degraded position than is the case
among most negro tribes. Commercial negotiations
are commonly intrusted to them, and in this depart-
ment they display a large amount of shrewdness.
They follow their husbands to battle, and play the
part of vivanclieres with both courage and gentleness.
At Onitsha M. Burdo engaged seventeen natives as
rowers, and the expedition now consisted of two
BURDO'S EXPLORATION. 135
canoes. At Atane the main stream of the Niger was
quitted for a while, and a creek entered traversing
the Obotshi country. Swarms of hippopotami were
discovered in this stream, one of which M. Burdo
succeeded in killing. When night approaches, these
animals come up out of the water to feed on the long
grass on the banks. All night they browse on these
pastures, and at daybreak again seek the river-bed.
The next halt was made at Accre, where M. Burdo
found the king engaged in feting a neighbouring
prince. The white man was invited to witness the
rejoicings, and conducted to the king's presence. The
prince of Accre and his friend the King Oputa
both rose at the white man's approach and gave him
a cordial welcome. King Oputa, a young man with
a singularly grave and even melancholy cast of coun-
tenance for a negro, could understand a few words of
The fete was now continued with much uproar of
fifes and tom-toms. Dance followed dance, while the
public singers chanted the praises of the two kings,
mingling with these complimentary extemporized
verses in honour of the white man.
It was arranged that M. Burdo should continue his
journey in company with King Oputa and his retinue,
and having warmly thanked the king of Accre for
his kind reception, the traveller once more embarked.
M. Burdo parted from King Oputa at a point where
136 BURDO'S EXPLORATION.
the creek forked, the traveller striking northward,
the king taking a westerly course towards the Niger.
The territory which the expedition now entered is
called Esuama-Ebo, a district of large extent. The
religion of the natives is almost pure idolatry ; but
some slight traces of Judaism may be discovered in
it — a circumstance which seems to indicate that some
stray wanderers of the Hebrew race must long ago
have found their way to these regions, and in the
gradual course of time become assimilated to the
natives both in appearance and customs, leavening
the races around them, however, with a few of their
own ideas. Thus the people of Ebo believe in a God,
Orissa or Tshuku, who is supreme and omnipotent ;
as well as in an evil spirit corresponding to Satan,
whom they name Kamallo, or Igwik-AUa. When it
is explained that Igivik means " one who has fallen
from a place of honour," and that Alia denotes " earth,"
the parallel between Igwik-AUa and the fallen angel
of the Scriptures may be readily recognized.
As the Jews had their sacred city Jerusalem, so
the people of Ebo have their holy city Aro, to which
they make many pilgrimages, as the followers of the
Prophet do to Mecca.
Quitting Ebo, M. Burdo faced north-east, and pres-
ently reached N'Teja, which he found in a state of
great excitement consequent on the king having de-
clared war with his neighbours the Ogidis. Kinor
B URDO 'S EXP LOR A TION. 1 37
Ogene received the white man favourably enough, but
absolutely forbade him to advance further into his
territories. He promised, however, to show M. Burdo
another route by which the Niger might be reached.
The apparent reason for this course of action on the
king's part was that he feared that the white man's
presence among his enemies, the Ogidis, might bring
with it the favour of the Great Spirit. After witness-
ing a curious religious rite, by which King Ogene
sought to propitiate the god Tshuku in favour of his
arms, M. Burdo departed in a northerly direction
The natives of Ebo are a fierce and war-loving
people. Giving no quarter and seeking none, they
make neither slaves nor prisoners, but put all captives
to death without mercy. They carry out the stern
old code, " an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth,"
to the letter. If a man murders another, the victim's
relatives pursue the murderer to the death; and if the
assassin finally escapes, some one of his relatives suffers
death in his stead, and thus justice is appeased.
The negroes regard life as falling into four epochs —
namely, infancy ; youth, when a person must look
after himself ; manhood, when a man may take a
wife ; and old age, when he is looked upon as little
better than a burden to his friends and the state.
It must in justice be stated, however, that a great
difference in regard to this last custom exists among
138 BUEDO'S EXPLORATION.
different tribes. Some of the native races along the
Niger pay all due respect to their old men, seeking
their counsel both in peace and war.
A man's wives in negro-land are usually in pro-
portion to his fortune. The wife becomes to all in-
tents a slave ; and so far from looking with a jealous
eye upon a fresh arrival in the seraglio, she welcomes
the new-comer as a sharer in the household work and
On the second day after leaving the country of the
Ogidis the expedition had a sharp encounter with
hostile natives, about thirty in number. M. Burdo's
followers behaved well, and succeeded in routing their
assailants ; but not before one — the bravest of the
band — paid forfeit with his life. This was "Go-fast,"
one of the trustiest of M. Burdo's escort, who fell
pierced by an arrow. Everything possible was done
for the wounded man, but poor Go-fast subsequently
died of his hurt.
On the day following this encounter and catastrophe
the party reached the territory of Annam, a fertile
region, rich in palm-trees, yams, and bananas. M.
Burdo was interested in the method of fishing adopted
by the natives of this district, which is curious and
Wooden constructions, resembling rude sentry-boxes,
supported on poles, are set up in mid-stream. In
these the fishermen take their station, with a large
BURDO'S EXPLORATION. 139
oblong net made of fibre, to which is secured a basket.
This net, with the basket depending from the middle,
the fisherman lowers by a rope into the water. Two
comrades, seated in a canoe near the bank, narrowly
watch the casting of the net, and as soon as it is
drawn up they approach and receive the catch, what-
ever it may be. Then the net is again lowered, and
so da capo. Great quantities of fish are frequently
taken by this method.
M. Burdo was now told that the great river
Osimirin — the name which the natives of these parts
give to the Niger — was near at hand ; and presently
the expedition reached Ogbekin, the capital of King
Oputa's country, situated on a creek of the Niger, in
6° 25' north latitude
The traveller was met by King Oputa and a large
following, who conducted him to the village, enter-
tained him with palm wine, bananas, and kolas, and
furnished him with a hut for himself.
M. Burdo now paid off some of his men whose term
of service had expired, and was immediately provided
with another canoe and more men by King Oputa.
During his stay at Ogbekin M. Burdo witnessed
the festival of the Waye, held to signalize the
sprouting of the yam crop, and an important cere-
mony among the natives. The whole tribe was
gathered together about the royal huts, and proceeded
thence to a large bombax-tree. The priest then took
140 BURDO'S EXPLORATION.
a number of newly-gathered yams, some kola nuts,
and fresh fish, which had been brought by the chiefs
as an offering. The yams having been sliced up by
the priest, the king received and ate a piece, and was
followed in like manner by his chiefs in turn, each
first pronouncing the words, " Thanks be to Tshuka.
who permits me to eat the waye." The religious part
of the rite being performed, the ceremony winds up
with a merry-making.
A rite of a very different kind obtains among the
Ogbekin tribes, which the influence of Christianity
has not yet touched in any degree. This is the yearly
ceremony of expiation, performed to atone both for
the sins of the king and the people.
Two young girls, chosen generally from hostile
tribes, having been stripped of all clothing, are decked
out by the priests in a fantastic garb of leaves, flowers,
and tinsel. They are then led out and exposed to the
violence of the mob, who assail them with vitupera-
tion of every description, shouting, " Arroyo", arroye" "
(Accursed, accursed). Finally the victims are put to
death. Among some tribes it is the custom to take
the victim in a canoe into the middle of the river,
and, fastening a heavy weight to her person, drown
This is a very ancient and deep-rooted custom, and
by its due observance it is believed that whatever
crimes may have been committed by the king and his
BURDO' S EXPLORATION. 141
people during the year are washed out by the blood of
the sacrifice. May the time be hastened when the
spread of civilization and the softening power of Chris-
tianity shall end this cruel and frightful barbarism.
King Oputa, the grave and melancholy, treated M.
Burdo with great hospitality, even to the extent of
offering him one of the prettiest and most favourite
of his wives. The black monarch hardly concealed
his surprise at his guest declining this gift, and M.
Burdo had some difficulty in making his host com-
prehend the nature of the tie between husband and
wife among Europeans. The king could only account
for a white man having but one wife on the score of
poverty ; in fact, it was clear that neither he nor his
wives quite believed M. Burdo's statements in regard
to the faithfulness of the white man to his wife, re-
ceiving them with much good-humoured but incredu-
Oputa showed much regret at parting from M.
Burdo, who proceeded from Ogbekin to Asaba, situ-
ated 6° 11' north. Asaba, in its external aspect, was
one of the most curious towns visited by the traveller.
A temple stood in the centre of the town, adorned
with the most grotesque idols, one of these represent-
ing a huge figure of a mother with new-born children
beside her. The walls of the temple were decorated
with rude frescoes of wild beasts of strange and un-
142 BURDO'S EXPLORATION.
M. Burdo's stay at Asaba was short, and he was
soon once more on the river, passing Abijaga on the
left bank, the Lander islands, and the Ojona islands.
At Ibbah, in latitude 7° 6' north, he halted. Ibbah is
a stronghold of Islamism, though situated in negro-land;
and the language spoken by the people is Houssa,
which very nearly resembles Arabic. The scenery on
quitting Ibbah is of great beauty and grandeur. The
banks of the river rise on either side to a vast height
— sheer walls of granite ; and through these, gazing
upward, the voyager beholds the strip of sky, bright
blue by day, purple and set with stars at night; while
the rushing of the river through the rocky gorge is
the only sound that breaks the silence and deep calm
of the scene.
Not long after leaving Ibbah a great misfortune
befell the traveller — namely, the desertion of the
whole of his men with the exception of three. The
cause of this unfaithfulness, probably, was fear on the
part of the men at the prospect of the unknown
Benueh — the final goal of the expedition.
M. Burdo's situation was now critical enough, but
he extorted a promise from his three remaining Kroo-
men to remain faithful. This oath of allegiance the
three men took an early opportunity of breaking, and
the traveller was left absolutely alone !
With forebodings of the darkest colour M. Burdo
pursued his solitary way in his canoe, and having
BURDO'S EXPLORATION. 143
anchored at dawn near a village, gathered together his
chattels, and examined his arms, prepared for the
worst that might happen in the shape of hostile re-
ception on the part of the villagers.
Presently he beheld a group of people, who answered
his signs by shouting and laughter. This reception
was, at best, somewhat doubtful ; but the traveller
had nothing for it but to put a bold face on matters.
Displaying a strip of calico in one hand and a bead
necklace in the other, he stood up in the canoe and
made signs to the negroes that he wished some of
them to row for him. First one and then another
got into the boat, until M. Burdo had a crew of four ;
and thus assisted in the rowing, in the space of half
an hour the traveller had reached the village of
Lokoja. Here he was met by a large crowd, who,
to his no small surprise, seemed to be expecting his
arrival. But his astonishment increased tenfold when
on landing he was thus accosted in English by a negro,
dressed in a jacket and trowsers : —
" This morning the Bishop of the Niger was in-
formed by a fisherman that there was a white man
in these parts. He has sent me to you to ask if you
are in need of help : he places his house at your dis-
posal and offers you hospitality."
Such a greeting brought M. Burdo no less delight
than astonishment ; for it meant for him succour and
sympathy when he most needed them. He was now
144 BUBDO'S EXPLOBATION.
conducted to the mission-station, which is situated at
the foot of Mount Patuh, near Lokoja. The Bishop
of the Niger, Samuel Ajai Crowther, was an old man
with white hair, dressed in a long black coat and
trowsers to match. He received M. Burdo most
cordially, and the two had much to tell each other.
The bishop strongly urged the traveller not to attempt
the Benueh in a canoe, on account of its rapid current.
He advised instead that M. Burdo should ascend the
river in the small steamer Henry Venn, the property
of the Church Missionary Society. The traveller, of
course, at once saw the reason of this, and agreed to
the bishop's suggestion.
Bishop Crowther is stationed at Lokoja during the
rainy season only ; for the remainder of the year he
lives at Lagos on the coast. The natives of Lokoja
belong for the most part to the Mohammedan faith,
and Christianity has not as yet made much headway
among them. A certain amount of civilized industry
obtains in the village, and M. Burdo saw a small forge,
a few cloth-looms, and a dye-vat.
During his stay at Lokoja, M. Burdo received from
Bishop Crowther a narrative of the chief events of
his life — a recital full of interest. He was born on
the Benueh, but remembered little or nothing of his
childhood. During an attack on his native village,
when he was about nine years old, he saw his father
killed before his eyes. He hung about his mother,
BURDO'S EXPLORATION. 145
but was carried off by the enemy. For a year he suf-
fered extreme hardships at the hands of his captors,
and was finally sold to Portuguese slave-dealers.
The boy was shipped in company with a number
of others in a vessel with a double deck, so constructed
that at short notice the whole cargo could be let
down into the sea, in the event of the ship being
boarded by an English or French cruiser. In her
passage from Old Calabar the ship was chased by an
English sloop, captured and boarded. In the con-
fusion which ensued on board the slave-ship, the boy
contrived to conceal himself among some salt-bags, and
thus escaped. The captain of the English cruiser had
his sympathy awakened by the lad's case, landed him
at Sierra Leone, and had him put to school. Subse-
quently he proceeded to London, made excellent pro-
gress in his studies, and was finally ordained and
sent to the African mission field.
Crowther made a very zealous and successful mis-
sionary ; and his remarkable fitness for the work was
recognized by his being made a bishop by the Arch-
bishop of Canterbury in 1864, the region of the
Upper Niger being appointed him as his diocese.
One day, when Bishop Crowther was preaching in
a large village, suddenly an aged woman rushed from
the crowd and seized the preacher round the neck,
crying, " My son ! my son ! " It was his mother.
The men who had slain Crowther's father had not
146 JBUBDO'S EXPLORATION.
thought it worth their while to take the mother, and
she had escaped. For nearly thirty years she had
been in search of her son, wandering from tribe to
tribe, and had at last found him thus — a bishop ! She
passed the remainder of her life in peace and comfort,
gently tended to her latest days by her son. Such
is the story of Samuel Ajai Crowther.
M. Burdo embarked on the little steamer Henry
Venn in company with Bishop Crowther and Mr.
J. Ashcroft, agent of one of the missionary societies.
After leaving Lokoja, Duck Island and Oromay were
passed, and presently the mouth of the Benueh was
entered. The negroes give the name of Neehu, or
Leehu, to this river ; the Mussulmans call it Baiki
N'Ruwa — that is, White Water; while the Niger they
call Fari N'Ruwa, or Black Water.
Igbegbe, a village of evil notoriety for its traffic in
slaves, is situated at the junction of the two rivers.
As you ascend the Benueh, or Schadda, navigation is
rendered difficult and dangerous by the numerous
sandbanks, and the captain of the Henry Venn had
constantly to take soundings, besides keeping the
most vigilant look-out ahead. Even thus, the steamer
once ran aground near the Harriet Islands ; but her
paddle-wheels being reversed, she was not long in
being again free. Large numbers of alligators were
seen on the sandbanks, basking in the sun, with
gaping jaws and hideous gleaming teeth.
BURDO'S EXPLORATION. 147
On the following day Imaha was reached, situated
on a small creek about half a mile from the main
river. The king of Imaha was absent from his
capital, engaged in laying siege to Amara, higher up
the river. The party therefore remained only one
day here, and then proceeded towards Amara, the
steamer casting anchor within a short distance of the
besieged town. Two canoes came alongside, and a
chief, seated in one of them, announced to the
strangers that King Kpanaki was willing to see them.
It was Bishop Crowther's intention to establish, if
possible, a mission among King Kpanaki's subjects.
On reaching the king's camp, M. Burdo was sur-
prised at the degree of order and military discipline
maintained among the troops, who were all drawn up
in regular battalions according to the several tribes of
which the army was composed. A band of natives,
playing on tom-toms, drums, and bamboo fifes, con-
ducted the strangers to the king's presence, who
received them seated on a sort of rude throne, con-
structed of mat-work supported on stakes. Wooden
seats were placed for the strangers.
King Kpanaki was between thirty and forty years
old, of a pure negro type, with a severe expression of
face. On his head he wore a leather cap surmounted
by a plume of white feathers, numerous rings adorned
his fingers, and about his waist was wound a broad
band of scarlet cloth.
148 BURDO'S EXPLORATION.
Bishop Crowther stated the object of his visit,
telling the king that his (Kpanaki's) father had
expressed a wish to see the Christian religion intro-
duced among his people. The bishop then went on to
say that the God of the Christians forbade war such
as Kpanaki was now carrying on with his neighbours.
To this the king answered, that he desired to respect
his father's wishes, but that he could not discontinue
M. Burdo then told of the desire on the part of
Europeans to trade with the king, to exchange the
manufactures of England and France — clothes,
weapons, iron, and copper — for the products of Africa,
— for ivory, gold, and palm oil ; adding that such a
commerce could not be initiated with a people immersed
in war and rapine.
Then King Kpanaki proposed to call his chiefs
together to take into consideration the question of
making peace with the foe. For a little it seemed
likely that peaceful counsels might prevail, when
suddenly a great uproar was heard in the camp, in
the midst of which a man entered unbidden the hut
in which this scene was being enacted.
The new-comer was N'Dako, the captain of the
king of Bida — a man notorious for his boldness, his
activity in the slave-trade, and his hatred of white
men. His arrival put an entirely altered complexion
on matters, and rendered the position of M. Burdc,
B UBDO 'S EXPLORA TION. 149
Mr. Ashcroft, and Bishop Crowther extremely critical.
N'Dako had soon won over the king to his way of
thinking, and the strangers were told that they must
at once depart from the camp and give up all thought
of penetrating further into King Kpanaki's territory.
Hostile looks now greeted the strangers on all sides,
outside the uproar increased, and swords were drawn
and flashed threateningly. M. Burdo deemed that
not a moment was to be lost in escaping, and he made
a way for himself and his companions through the
mob of soldiers, who seemed more than half ready to
fall upon the strangers. But they had soon reached
the river-bank, and were presently again seated in
their canoe. Meanwhile King Kpanaki was preparing
to lead his soldiers to the sacking of Amara.
M. Burdo now parted from Bishop Crowther, the
latter returning in the steamer to the Niger. The
parting was with mutual regret, for M. Burdo had
conceived for the black bishop a regard and respect
equally sincere. Bishop Crowther placed in the
traveller's hands a letter for the King of the Belgians,
which in due course was faithfully delivered.
The traveller now pursued his journey accompanied
by one follower only — the faithful Ben Ali — guide
and interpreter. His resources were coming to an
end, but he was resolved to travel on as long as they
The sources of the river Benueh still await a dis-
150 BURDO'S EXPLORATION.
Coverer, and the complete and final survey of this
mysterious stream will probably supply a key to not
a few problems of African exploration.
On the right side of the Benueh, near its confluence
with the Niger, lies the country of Igbira-Panda,
which marches with Oketa. Next, following the
same bank of the river, comes Bassa, then Egy,
Doma, and Dotshi, which reaches to the Murchison
Mountains. Akpoto lies on the left bank ; next
Agadumo, Mitshi, Anufo, and Karorofan. Then the
Hamaruwa country begins, occupying both banks of the
river. Next comes Adamawa, with its capital, Yola.
The Mussulman power has a strong hold on the
Benueh and Upper Niger territory. Its chief centre
is Sokoto, situated on a tributary of the Niger —
the river Fadam. The followers of Mohammed, led
by the fierce chief Fodie, invaded this region, and
making terrible havoc among the natives, took pos-
session of the country intermediate between Soudan
and the Benueh. It is extremely doubtful whether
the Mussulman faith, which has been thus grafted on,
or in many cases has superseded, the idolatry of the
original possessors of the land, will do anything to
further civilization and a gentler life in Central
Africa. The appearance upon the scene of the fol-
lowers of the Prophet has as yet brought with it
only rapine, conflagration, and increased slavery.
Among the people of Akpoto and Mitshi pure and
BUBDO'S EXPLOBATION. 151
simple barbarism prevails. They are cannibals, idol-
worshippers, and offerers of human sacrifices. Their
religious ceremonies reveal one or two perverted traits
of Judaism, among the rest circumcision. Two great
spirits are worshipped and feared by them — the spirit
of evil and the spirit of good ; but the former is held
in by far the greater awe. Serpents, alligators, and
all animals hostile to man, personify to their minds
the evil spirit; while trees, rivers, and stars are sym-
bolical of the good spirit.
By the time M. Burdo had reached Luwo, he found
that his resources were almost at an end. It was
impossible to pursue "his explorations further, for he had
barely sufficient money, etc., to carry him back to the
coast. At every village through which he had passed
he had to pay toll in the shape of a gift to the king
or chief. He resolved, therefore, to retrace his steps
through the Akpoto country, and presently reached
the river Okari, which the traveller judged to be
identical with the Bonny. As his homeward journey
continued, his difficulties increased. His provisions
grew scantier and more scanty, the natives proved
hostile and treacherous, fatigue and want of sleep
weakened him in body and spirit, and it was with
the greatest effort that he prevented himself from
yielding to despair. Added to these various dis-
couragements, he suffered severely from the bite of a
snake, which caused such acute pain and numbness
1 52 B URDO 'S EXPLOBA TION.
that he could only continue his journey at a very
At length, to his great satisfaction, M. Burdo met
his old friend King Oputa, on his way with a party
of his people to conclude a treaty of peace with the
king of Ogberi. The traveller accompanied his black
friend to Ogberi, which was reached the same day.
Zumbadi, the king, received the white man favourably,
giving him a separate hut for his accommodation.
Rest and the sense of relief from anxiety soon re-
freshed the traveller in mind and body.
During his stay at Ogberi, M. Burdo was compelled
to be present at a human sacrifice — a sacred ceremony
which it would have perhaps cost him his own life to
have refused to witness. The ceremony was accom-
panied with a very carnival of hideous noises and
barbaric dances, over which the moonlight shed a
ghastly radiance, until the whole horrible and heart-
sickening scene so impressed itself upon the white
man's imagination that sleep fled from his eyes for
The religion of the people of Ogberi is a sort of
compromise between idolatry and Mohammedanism.
They obey the laws of the Koran for the most part,
but are in reality polytheists. In regard to industrial
pursuits, cultivation is in a comparative state of ad-
vancement among them — yams, maize, bananas, the
cassava and tobacco being grown ; and palm and
BURDO'S EXPLORATION. 153
bamboo wine, together with a kind of beer, manu-
The natives of the Benueh region are for the most
part very ill-favoured, the women among them being
obese to the extent of deformity. They are an in-
dustrious people, on the whole, and work in copper
with no small skill, while their pottery displays a
degree of adornment that may be compared to
Egyptian art of this description.
Quitting Ogberi, M. Burdo in six days reached
Igbegbe, where the Niger and Benueh meet. Here
he had an opportunity of studying the slave-market
in full operation — " the saddest sight in the world."
Men, women, and children were put up to auction and
sold " like beasts of burden," — the prices paid varying
from four pounds to forty.
At Lokay, M. Burdo embarked on board the little
steamer Edgar, and arriving at Lagos, took passage
for Liverpool in the steamer Roquelle. When he
landed in his native country — Belgium — he had been
eight months on his travels ; and during all that period,
though he had had quite the usual share of hardship,
privation, and suffering which falls to every traveller
in Africa, he had never suffered seriously in health.
A hostile climate, fatigue, fever, incessant anxiety, and
a thousand minor worries, had left him physically un-
impaired, and he returned to Europe with heartfelt
gratitude to Heaven for safety and restoration.
CAPTAIN GALLIENl's EXPEDITION TO THE
In the work of African exploration France has not
been inactive, and among the expeditions projected by
that nation that of Captain Gallieni must take rank
as the most important, both in regard to the diffi-
culties surmounted and the results obtained.
Captain Gallieni had recently returned from a
journey of exploration to southern Senegambia, when
Monsieur Briere de l'lsle, the governor of Senegal,
unfolded to him a plan for penetrating the valley of
the Upper Niger by way of the lofty mountain-pass
extending between that great river and the Senegal.
The main object of the expedition was to establish
friendly relations with the native races partially
made known to Europeans by the travels of Mungo
Park, and to open up to the French frontier colonies
of Medine and Bakel an outlet to markets hitherto
* The following is an abstract of Captain Gallieni's own narrative, which appeared
in " Le Tour du Monde."
CAPTAIN GALLIENI'S EXPEDITION. 155
abandoned to semi-savage tribes. All the territory
which was to be traversed, extending from Medine' as
far as the banks of the Niger, is under the nominal
sovereignty of Amadou, king of Segou.
Captain Gallieni chose for his companions in travel
M. Pietri, a lieutenant of Marine Artillery; M. Valliere,
a lieutenant of Marine Infantry ; and MM. Tautain
and Bayol, two young doctors — all men possessing
special qualifications for the respective duties they
were to perform.
Captain Gallieni, well knowing how readily the
negro races are affected by showy spectacle, kept this
point well in view in the equipment of his expedition.
His escort was numerous and equipped at all points,
and presented a tout ensemble well calculated to excite
the wonder and admiration of the simple natives.
The month of January 1880 was employed in
making all necessary provision for the journey. At
St. Louis an immense stock of presents was laid in —
the means of securing the good offices of the tribes-
These comprised coloured stuffs of various sorts —
white calicoes, blue guinea cloth, Indian scarves, gay-
coloured handkerchiefs, gilt swords, silver-mounted
guns, knives, mirrors, musical boxes, little electrical
machines, etc. At Bakel the finishing touch was
given to the preparations, every detail of which had
been arranged with the care and minuteness so neces-
sary to the success of an expedition of this sort.
156 CAPTAIN GALLIENI'S EXPEDITION.
On the 30th January a flag hoisted over the house of
the governor gave the signal for the start. MM. Bayol,
Pietri, and Valliere embarked on the steamboat Dakar,
to which were attached the boats, and launches laden
with the heavy freight which had to be transported
as far as Bakel by water. Captain Gallieni himself
and Dr. Tautain, who had been detained at St. Louis
at the last moment, set out a little later on board the
Sivan, accompanied by the governor and his lieuten-
ant. M. Briere de l'lsle had followed with the keenest
interest all the preparations for the expedition, and
now accompanied the travellers as far as Podor, as a
last mark of the importance which he attached to the
success of the mission.
It was with feelings of deep emotion that the
travellers pressed for the last time the hands of their
friends, whom some of them might perhaps never see
again. But the thoughts of the explorers were ere
long turned in other directions by the stir and bustle
on board, by the cries of the negroes, and by the new
scenes through which they were passing. On the
right lay the country of the Trarzan Moors, and on
the left the territory of the OuolofF negroes.
Ouoloff is subject to the French government, and
pays tribute to a considerable amount. The Trarzas,
on the opposite bank of the river, are among the most
turbulent of the Moorish tribes ; but an important
trade is carried on between them and the French at
CAPTAIN GALLIENJ'S EXPEDITION. 157
Dagana — the Trarzas bartering their gums for guinea
cloth, a cheap blue stuff, and other products of Euro-
pean manufacture. In the winter they quit the
banks of the river — very much to the satisfaction of
the black river tribes, who have frequently to suffer
at the hands of these shameless robbers — return to
the desert, and resume their wandering and adventur-
ous life, in which war and pillage play the most im-
The first important halt which M. Gallieni and his
companions made along the river was at Dagana,
situated on the banks of the Senegal, and almost
entirely hidden among thick trees. From one end of
the veranda of a house there appeared every now
and then, as the travellers drew near, the black heads
of pretty little monkeys, of a gray, green-coloured
species, which abound in the forests of Fouta, and are
a source of infinite amusement to the soldiers of the
The town itself presented a lively sight. The
traders, standing on the steps of their white, square-
shaped houses, disputed eagerly with the Moors, whose
black, flowing, uncombed hair gave them a strangely
savage appearance. In the middle of the path camels
reclined with long stretched-out legs, and regarded
with startled eyes all that was going on around them.
The Dakar only stopped long enough at Dagana to
land some of its black passengers, and in a few
158 CAPTAIN GALLIENI'S EXPEDITION.
minutes was again on its course for Podor, followed
closely by the Swan.
Podor was reached on the evening of January 31.
It was regarrisoned by the French with a strong
force in 1854, in the face of the hostility of the
Toucouleurs of Toro. The fort itself consists of two
parallel streets, one of which, shady with fine trees,
borders the Senegal. Behind rise the pointed roofs
of the native villages of Podor and Tioffy.
On the 3rd of February, the governor, M. Briere
de l'lsle, gave the mission their last instructions.
" Go," he said. " Be energetic, be resolute. Forget
the trials which await you, to remember only the
interests of your country. You are about to initiate
a grand undertaking, and I, for my part, shall use
every endeavour to see that you are soon followed in
the path which you will open up to civilization and
the influence of the French nation. My good wishes
and those of the whole colony go with you. God
prosper your noble and patriotic efforts."
On the morning of the 4th, the voyagers re-em-
barked, on board the Dakar, which was to take them
as far as the bank of the Mafou, at which point they
parted with the steamer.
Among the inconveniences of Senegalese life, the
greatest is the difficulty of communication, during a
large part of the year, between the chief town of
the colony and the settlements situated beyond Podor.
CAPTAIN GALLIENI'S EXPEDITION. 161
Steamboats cannot ascend further than the shallows
of the Mafou, and recourse must be had to flat-
bottomed boats, which often consume a whole month
in reaching Medine. Sometimes the black sailors who
have charge of these craft land on the banks, fasten
a long rope to the masts, and thus drag the boats
along. Often, however, the thick vegetation of the
river-banks renders this device impracticable, and
branches and long poles have then to be used. Under
conditions such as these it will easily be imagined
how slow and monotonous progress becomes, especially
when the numerous shallows and rapids which ob-
struct both the lower and upper Senegal are re-
Toro was now reached, one of the states annexed
in a measure by the French from the powerful and
turbulent confederation of Fouta. The hostility dis-
played by the Toucouleurs, and their predilection for
plunder, obliged the French to make frequent ex-
peditions against these wandering tribes. As one
result of this policy, Toro became an independent state
under the protectorate of the French, and is governed
by a young chief, Amadou Abdoul, who is now almost
a naturalized Frenchman, and who visited the Paris
Exhibition of 1878.
The other bank of the river forms the boundary-
line of the territory of the Brackna Moors, who carry
on a brisk trade in gums with the fort at Podor.
(94) 1 1
162 CAPTAIN GALLIENI'S EXPEDITION.
The navigation was slow and difficult for some
days. Owing to the thickly-wooded character of the
banks, the boats could not be towed along by ropes
secured to the masts. Captain Gallieni and his com-
rades relieved the tediousness of the journey by
shooting at the alligators asleep on the surface of the
stream. The huge creatures plunged suddenly beneath
the water, leaving a thin stream of blood behind them,
which sufficiently showed that some of the shots had
not been without effect. On the summits of the
banks black-headed monkeys and birds of many-
coloured plumage fled at the approach of the trav-
On the 9th, the villages of Cascas and Doungel
were passed ; and soon after, not without difficulty and
much loss of time, the difficult passage of Djoule'diabd
Here, however, the banks being unwooded, the method
of towing could again be put into practice.
The next halt was made at Salde', where a stock of
fresh provisions was laid in. Boussea was presently
in sight — a place inhabited by the most unruly tribe
of all the Toucouleur confederacy. Its chief, Abdoul
Boubakar, surrounded by an energetic band of young
warriors, living entirely by plunder, does his utmost to
excite against the French the more peaceable villages
situated along the river with whom that nation has
The river continued to be of imposing breadth. On
CAPTAIN OALLIENI'S EXPEDITION. 163
the Fouta side the banks are well wooded. As far as
Matam many traces of cultivation were observed. On
the 14th, Orefonde', the capital of all the Toucouleur
confederacy, was reached. Here are usually held the
assemblies of fanatic Mussulmans, who combine against
the French and their native 'proteges. These wild
convocations result in little more than talk and up-
roar, and generally break up without arriving at any
Plenty of hippopotami were now met with, the
voyagers being made aware of their propinquity by
loud snortings. They frequently rose up out of the
river a few yards from the boats, which ran some
risk of being swamped by them. Fire was opened
upon these huge river-horses, but with not much
result ; for when wounded the creatures plunged im-
mediately to the bottom of the river.
Notwithstanding the activity of the black sailors,
Matam was not reached until the 18th. It is situ-
ated on the confines of Boussea and Damga, the last
state of Fouta. Damga is a more populous region than
any that had been crossed thus far. The inhabitants
are a peaceable people, who desire nothing better than
to be delivered from the continual raids of Abdoul
The vegetation now became more luxuriant and
beautiful. Trees of various species abounded — palms
of different varieties and tamarinds of great height
164 CAPTAIN GALL1ENVS EXPEDITION.
and elegant form being especially numerous. The
picturesque foliage of the trees, the hills and red-
brown rocks which formed a background to the
vegetation, and villages set more closely together, gave
to the country a very bright and lively look, and
made a pleasant relief to the eye after the long
monotony of the forest.
On the morning of the 25th the expedition
arrived at Tuabo, the residence of the tunka or chief
of Guoy. A few hours later Bakel was in sight,
recognizable by its high towers crowning the hills
around the fort. Next the white and massive build-
ings were visible, and at four o'clock in the afternoon
the voyagers cast anchor, happy to quit the narrow
and difficult passage through which they had been
passing for the last twenty days. The first stage of
the voyage was accomplished, and the journey was
henceforth to be a land one.
The fort of Bakel dates from the beginning of the
century. It replaced the various factories formerly
established in that region by the Indian Company, to
prosecute the gold trade of Galam and Bambouk. It
is at the present day a fine building, restored by the
exertions of the governor, Briere de l'lsle, composed of
two large wings connected by a smaller building.
The officers' quarters are airy and commodious, while
those of the men are equally comfortable and well
arranged. In fact, nothing has been left undone to
CAPTAIN GALLIENI'S EXPEDITION. 167
minimise the discomforts of life in a country abound-
ing in malarious marshes and hostile in every way to
the health of European residents.
This station is the most important on the river, and
carries on an active trade in gums, horses, gold, ostrich
feathers, skins, etc. The commandant, M. Soyer, re-
ceived the expedition with every mark of hospitality,
and some time was spent by Captain Gallieni and his
officers in reorganizing the large and somewhat hetero-
geneous forces — men, cattle, and baggage — under their
By the evening of the 6th March everything
was again ready for the road, and on the follow-
ing morning at daybreak a start was made. The
long cortege had hardly set out when a loud roaring
was heard, and Lieutenant Valliere exclaimed, " A
lion ! It cannot be far off. Is it a good omen, or
not ? "
" It comes from the right," replied Dr. Tautain
" However it be," said Captain Gallieni, " Forward's
The first halt was made at the village of Golmi,
the forest of Goura having been crossed during the
march, which lay along the left bank of the Senegal.
Everything was ready for a bivouac, and the ass-
drivers began to prepare their rice and couscous, under
the direction of the chef de cuisine Yoro. Yoro was
168 CAPTAIN GALLIENI' S EXPEDITION.
an important personage in the expedition, and merits
more than a passing mention.
He was a Toucouleur of the Laobe tribe ; a people
held in slight esteem by their countrymen, by reason of
their gaining their livelihood by cutting wood, digging
ditches, and making pestles for crushing the meal for
couscous. In many parts of Africa the greatest
disdain is manifested for the working castes, such as
weavers, rope-makers, and smiths. The Laobes, who
are spread throughout all Senegal, live apart, and
marry among themselves, but are nevertheless one of
the most prosperous tribes in the country.
Yoro was of a type frequently met with among
the native races who have taken on a varnish of
civilization. He was vain, a liar, and a thief ; but
he had also good qualities. He was a capital fellow
in a crisis. He got the breakfast ready with a
marvellous expedition, and could prepare for dinner
the most tempting dishes. He had been in turn
tirailleur, scullion, muleteer, sailor ; always greedy,
always miserable, and always absolutely devoted to
his master. When evil fortune befell, Yoro would sell
his dearest possession in order to satisfy our desires.
More than once he proved his devotion to Captain
Gallieni by exposing his body to the bullets of hostile
natives in defence of his master. At Nango, where
Gallieni was struck down with fever, Yoro sat day
and night by the sick man's bed, and nursed him
CAPTAIN GALLIENI 'S EXPEDITION. 169
with the gentleness of a mother. It is no wonder,
therefore, that Captain Gallieni speaks of his faithful
attendant in terms of affectionate esteem.
The expedition left Golmi on the 8th, and arrived
next at Guoy, a province of Bakel. Here long chains
of hills stretch towards the south ; but on the other
side of the river the country is flat, and the marigots
are the only obstacles which interrupted the march.
By marigots is meant those small affluents of the
Senegal which, dry as a rule for the most part of the
year, overflow in the rainy season and form deep and
wide channels. After crossing the river Faleme', a
beautiful stream which discharges a considerable
volume of water into the Senegal, the expedition
entered Kamera. The inhabitants of Kamera are a
peaceable and hard-working people, who bear the
cognomen of the " Jews of Soudan." Kame'ra is
under the protectorate of France. The surrounding
country presents no features of special interest — forest
and brushwood, varied here and there by a small
stream, and in the vicinity of the villages fields
planted with millet.
On the morning of March 11th, the camp was
pitched before the village of Gore", an important centre
inhabited by Bambarras, who escaped the sword of
Amadou on the occasion of his last raid upon Kaarta
in 1874. Dama, the chief of Gore, gave the travellers
a very hearty reception, presenting Gallieni with
170 CAPTAIN GALLIENI 'S EXPEDITION.
beef, mutton, milk, etc. ; and to do special honour to
his guests, he arranged for their diversion a tom-tom,
or military fete.
Gallieni and his comrades were conducted with
much ceremony by the king's chief ministers to the
scene of action — a band of musicians leading the
way, and making on their rude instruments the most
indescribable uproar. Dama himself was seated,
cross-legged, on a leopard's skin stretched on the
ground. About him were grouped his warriors in
various attitudes, armed with guns and lances.
The night was dark, and the vast crowd, itself as
black as the night, and lit up only by sundry torches,
presented a strange and most fantastic appearance.
Captain Gallieni was seated beside the king, and
presently the dance began. It was engaged in by
men only, and these the most nobly born and the
bravest in the state. The tom-toms, a kind of long
drums, which give the name to the ceremony ; trum-
pets of hollow wood, uttering a harsh and monotonous
sound ; and little flutes, played in a rather melodious
fashion — these formed the orchestra. The trumpets
emitted three notes only, always the same, and all sad
and mournful, producing a most melancholy effect
upon the ear.
While the music was at its height, the dancers
arranged themselves in many various attitudes in the
flaring light of the torches, each warrior grasping his
CAPTAIN G ALLIEN VS EXPEDITION. 171
gun or sabre. Now they stooped, now tossed their
weapons in the air, now pirouetted, and now threw
their arms above their heads ; always dancing in
time, their eyes flashing with a warlike fire. The
dancers won the enthusiastic applause of the specta-
tors, and the fite terminated with a display of coloured
lights which Captain Gallieni caused to be burned for
the wonder and delight of the simple natives.
On the 12th March, the explorers camped on the
bank of the river at the village of Ambidedi, under
the shadow of three noble bread-fruit trees, whose
trunks measured between fifteen and twenty yards
in circumference, and whose leafy boughs made an
impervious screen against the sun. Towards evening
shots were heard on the right bank. It was one of
those affrays which are continually taking place
between the Moors and the Sarracolets of Guidi-
makha, the origin of which is always the same — the
wish on the part of the Moors to possess themselves
of their neighbours' herds, and the determination of
the rightful owners to defend their property.
After traversing a very fertile region, planted with
beautiful fields of millet, the village of Bongourou
was reached on the 14th, and shortly after Medine,
which is two hundred and sixty leagues from the
mouth of the Senegal, and situated near the cataract
of Felou. Here Captain Gallieni halted for some
days, to reorganize and strengthen the expedition.
172 CAPTAIN GALLIENI'S EXPEDITION.
At this time, it being the dry season, the country
around Medine was dry and parched and almost
destitute of pasturage. The camp was pitched to the
south of the village, under the shadow of two or
three lofty trees, on a plain encircled by rocky hills.
The Senegal was not far off, the main river alone
being able to supply sufficient water for the wants of
the expedition. All the smaller streams were dry.
The site of the camp was remarkable in several
respects. A semicircle of lofty rocks, absolutely
vertical, formed the background. The face of the
rock was broken by frequent cavities, the haunt of
innumerable monkeys, and of hyenas that come down
at night into the very streets of Medine* and utter
their hoarse cries under the walls of the fort.
From the camp could be seen also the " Lion
Rocks ; " so called from their peculiar formation —
huge masses of rock resembling crouching lions.
By this time the expedition, which had been
strengthened from stage to stage during the journey,
presented a really imposing array. The camp was
divided into sections, each under the command of its
own leader, each bearing conspicuous its own flag.
Thus far the most perfect order had been preserved
in every department ; and never before, probably, had
the natives beheld so numerous and well-equipped a
From Medine* to Bafoulabe* the valley of the Sene-
CAPTAIN GALLIENI'S EXPEDITION 173
gal rises gradually from an elevation of about thirty
to nearly one hundred yards. Beyond Boukaria,
transport by water is no longer practicable — the
course of the river being here broken by numerous
small falls and rapids, not to mention the cataract of
While Gallieni remained at Medine', the first diffi-
culty which he had experienced with his followers
arose. The Toucouleurs, with characteristic fickleness,
had lost the enthusiasm for the journey which they
had at first shown, and began to think they were not
sufficiently remunerated for their labours. The seeds
of a conspiracy were being sown, and the malcontents,
urged on by two or three leaders, threatened to aban-
don the white man unless more favourable terms were
granted them. Captain Gallieni's action in this crisis
was sufficiently prompt and energetic to quell at once
the threatened outbreak. Nevertheless, he could not
but feel some slight uneasiness at the idea of being
deserted by his native escort — a danger which so
frequently menaces the African explorer, and which,
by causing delay and other mortifications, so imperils
the success of an expedition.
By the 21st March the travellers were again
ready for the journey. Such of the asses as had been
disabled during the march from Bakel to Medine' were
replaced by others ; fresh native horses had been
purchased, as well as a herd of cattle to provide fresh
174 CAPTAIN GALLIENVS EXPEDITION.
meat for the expedition. The chiefs of Medine" gave
a dinner in honour of Captain Gallieni and his com-
rades on the eve of their departure. Finally, on the
morning of the start the explorers were treated to a
serenade by the chief musician of Medine". The per-
formance was sufficiently diverting, for it consisted of
a medley of native and French airs, the latter selected
from the operas of " La Grande Duchesse " and " La
Fille de Madame Angot." The effect of the lively
French music sung by the swarthy troubadour to the
accompaniment of his rude guitar was singular and
The first difficulty which the caravan had to en-
counter occurred almost at the gates of Medine". The
valley of the Senegal, enclosed at this point between
two walls of cliffs, is completely barred by a mass of
rocks known as the plateau of Felou, behind which
stretches the beautiful plain of Logo. Here there are
the genuine traces of a dike which once held a por-
tion of the waters of the Senegal, and formed a large
lagoon, having for its bed the plain of Logo. On
the Medine' side the plateau terminates suddenly and
abruptly in rocky pinnacles.
The Senegal has broken down this dike on the right
side, and has channelled for itself a straight course
towards the steep cliffs ; but a line of rocks still bars
the progress of the river, and, by holding the waters
within the plain of Logo, forms a magnificent sheet
CAPTAIN GALLIENI'S EXPEDITION. 175
of water stretching as far as Boukaria. That barrier,
hollowed, worn, polished, sculptured in a fashion, by
the friction of the waters, presents a most picturesque
appearance — vaults from which the water drips drop
by drop, cascades, caverns with inaccessible recesses,
caldrons shaped like upturned cones by pebbles of
adamantine hardness, which are kept in continual
circular motion by separate currents.
The plateau of Felou did not prove so great an
obstacle to progress as Captain Gallieni, from previous
knowledge of the locality, had anticipated. For it
was now the dry season, and by following the empty
water-courses channelled in the plains, it was not
very difficult to reach the slope leading to the plain of
On the morning of the 22nd the village of
Saboucire was reached, the scene of a brilliant foray
made by Colonel Reybaud against the Malinke's of
Logo, who had rebelled against the authority of
Sambala, an old ally of the French.
After halting at several intermediate stations, in-
cluding Malou and Dinguira — the latter a beautiful
village, well built and well cultivated — the travellers
reached the famous cataract of Gouina, the crash of
whose waters was heard long before the fall itself was
in sight. In the winter season the Gouina cataract
discharges into the great basin below an immense
volume of water ; and the current is so strong that
176 CAPTAIN GALLIENI'S EXPEDITION.
hippopotami are often swept over the fall from the
upper waters and found crushed among the rocks
below. In the dry season the appearance of the
cataract is less imposing but more graceful. The
rocks, rising above the current, present a smooth and
polished surface ; and the water gleams and glistens
among the crevasses like strings of iridescent pearls,
falling in little cascades on the successive terraces of
rock in a way that entrances the gaze.
The camp was pitched over against Foukhara, a
little village built on an island in the middle of the
stream — a somewhat inconvenient position by reason
of the innumerable hippopotami which infest the
Senegal, and which have to be frightened off by the
nightly beating of drums.
Two days were occupied in the journey from
Foukhara to the Talahari — the route followed leading
through a veritable desert. At this stage the leader
was attacked with violent fever ; but, thanks to the
prompt and efficacious treatment of Dr. Bayol, he was
soon able to accomplish the last stage of the journey
to Bafoulabd The village of Makhina was passed,
and the left bank of the Baring reached.
Bafoulabe' stands at the confluence of the two
streams which form the Senegal — a name which sig-
nifies " two rivers." The more important of these is
the Bating, or Black River. It flows from the south,
and has its source in the mountain masses of Fouta
CAPTAIN G ALLIEN VS EXPEDITION. 177
Djalon. The other confluent is the Bakhoy, or White
River, flowing from the east.
Bafoulabe had been chosen as the site of the first
of those stations which the French desired to establish
as far as the Joliba, the great river of the negroes.
On the morning of the 2nd April, Captain Gallieni
had the satisfaction of beholding all his forces, men
and animals, drawn up in good order on the little
plateau which was to serve as the site of the new
station of Bafoulabe.
Captain Gallieni had now entered a country in
which the faculty of the diplomatist was as essential
as that of the explorer. His directions were, that he
should follow the valley of the Bakhoy, which is the
shortest route to the Niger. Time pressed, and it was
expedient to reach the Joliba before winter. Accord-
ingly, the order was given to leave Bafoulabe' on 2nd
The march led through forest country thickly
planted with lofty and beautiful trees. Some of these
were of singular shape and appearance. Their trunks,
curiously indented at the base, formed, as it were,
niches, with regularly-shaped walls, which became
gradually merged in the tree itself at a distance of
four or five yards above the ground. One of these
giants of the forest measured nearly twenty yards in
Birds of varied and brilliant plumage fluttered
178 CAPTAIN GALLIENI'S EXPEDITION.
among the leafy boughs overhead, making a lively and
pleasant music. Among the most conspicuous of these
was a bird resembling an English pheasant, its head
adorned with a pretty black crest, its plumage a
beautiful dark blue.
The left bank of the Bakhoy was followed as closely
as possible ; but the luxuriant vegetation prevented
any careful examination of its course. Night fell
before the camp was pitched, which occasioned some
disorder. But a circumstance which served still
further to increase the confusion, and to place the
caravan in actual danger for a few moments, was a
fire which broke out a little way from the camp almost
before the different sections were fairly settled. It
was the dry season, which the natives utilize in clear-
ing their fallow fields of parasitic vegetation. It was
not a little startling to see the flames rushing heaven-
wards so close to the camp, reddening the sky and
horizon. The high grass blazed with marvellous
rapidity, crackling and roaring with a noise that
could be heard miles away. The gigantic baobab
trees, with their branches resembling human arms,
seemed to tremble with terror, and presented a most
fantastic appearance in the wavering glare of the
The wind was blowing towards the camp, and not
a minute was to be lost if the threatened danger was
to be avoided. Already some of the asses, terrified
CAPTAIN GALLIENI'S EXPEDITION. 181
by the noise, had thrown off their loads and broken
loose into the forest. A number of the men, providing
themselves with large and leafy branches, advanced
towards the fire. Leaping, shouting, dancing, gesticu-
lating, like true negroes as they were, they had soon
mastered the flames, at least over a sufficient area to
preclude all immediate danger to the camp.
On the following day the explorers reached the
village of Kala, after skirting the mountain of Douka
and crossing a number of dry tributaries of the main
river. The river Bakhoy, from Bafoulabe as far as
its confluence with the Baoule', flows through a wide
valley sloping from east to west and flanked on each
side by mountain masses.
On the 4 th the village of Niakale* Cirea was
reached, and the camp pitched beneath a beautiful
fig-tree. Here a somewhat disagreeable incident befell
Captain Gallieni. The young chief, Gara Mamady
Cire', whom the leader had commanded to follow him
to the Niger, arrived on the 5th with a large follow-
ing of armed men, contrary to Captain Gallieni's
injunctions. The chief began first to complain that to
him, the son of a great chief, had been given a less
beautiful horse than Alpha Sega, the interpreter, had
received. Then he declared that he could not follow
Captain Gallieni unless he were allowed to take with
him forty men of his village. Captain Gallieni under-
stood perfectly that this untractable warrior had no
182 CAPTAIN GALLIENI'S EXPEDITION.
great desire to trust himself in an unknown country,
dangerous to traverse by reason of the continual war-
fare which prevailed. He told the chief in plain and
vigorous terms that he might take himself off home
again as soon as he pleased ; to which Gara replied
with equanimity, assuring the white man that he was
depriving himself of an important ally in leaving him,
Gallieni and his lieutenants had scarcely forgotten
the disagreeable feeling produced by this incident,
when an episode of a more amusing character occurred.
A sheep had just been purchased from a Malinke' ; and
Yoro the cook had already begun to cut up and pre-
pare the animal for dinner, when the late proprietor
returned, rending the air with the most piteous cries,
and regretting in the bitterest terms the bargain he
had just concluded. He bewailed and gesticulated,
exclaiming, " Is it possible that I could have allowed
myself to be so taken in ? What ! one little piece
for an animal which lives, which walks, which eats,
which drinks ! Is it right — is it just ? " It is im-
possible, Captain Gallieni writes, to convey the manner
and the complaints, each more ludicrous than the
other, of the aggrieved Malinke'; the simple truth
being, that he wished, over and above his price, a
calabash of brandy, which he at last got.
After quitting Niakale Cirda, the march became
difficult and painful, leading through a long gorge
CAPTAIN GALLIENI'S EXPEDITION. 185
where the ground was broken and rugged with huge
blocks of rock. The camp was next pitched at the
village of Solinta, by the ford of the Dioube - Ba.
The sun had hardly set when the hyenas began to
prowl around the camp with their hoarse and melan-
choly howling, their lean flanks and hideous forms
revealed strangely in the light of the camp-fires. They
approached quite close, attracted by the debris of the
supper. A discharge of shot was not sufficient to
frighten off these frequent and objectionable guests
of every African bivouac.
Presently, too, a disturbance among the asses, fol-
lowed by a loud roaring, warned the travellers of the
presence of another night foe — namely, lions. The
shots had, however, apparently frightened these last
visitors, and their roaring ere long ceased. The lions
of Senegambia are maneless. They rarely attack
men ; but it was seldom that our travellers pitched
their camp without the roaring of these kings of the
forest coming to disturb their slumbers. One of the
sharp-shooters, however, was on one occasion attacked
by a lion, and only escaped by climbing a large tree,
the thick branches and dense foliage of which served
him for a refuge for the night.
At the village of Solinta, where the caravan halted,
the attention of Captain Gallieni and his comrades
was arrested by a large furnace of remarkable con-
struction. It was built in the earth, almost cylindrical
186 CAPTAIN GALLIENI'S EXPEDITION.
in shape, and widening towards the centre. This
furnace was employed in the manufacture of iron for
making swords, knives, and other utensils used by the
natives of the region.
The neighbouring mountains supply the minerals
for the furnace in great abundance. Many workmen
are employed in working it. It is furnished with a
number of mouths, to which are fitted bellows worked
by hand. One other mouth, much larger than the
rest, is kept open when the operation of smelting
the metal is about to begin. When a sufficient
quantity of metal is ready for smelting, all the smiths
of the village give themselves to the work at the same
time. The occasion becomes in some sort a festival
as well as a labour, for the workmen are plied with
copious draughts of maize-beer. Songs and shrill
cries accompany the work, the roaring of the fires
swells the din, and every man bears a hand at the
bellows until the metal is ready. Captain Gallieni
remarks that a very similar method of iron-forging
obtains in the Pyrenees.
The 8th of the month was spent by the expedition
at Soukoutaly, the chief of which, a fine old man of
frank and resolute bearing, evinced much satisfaction
when Captain Gallieni explained to him his projects
in regard to the Upper Niger. The old chief was
greatly pleased when the white leader said that he
had often heard of him, and presented him, on behalf
CAPTAIN GALLIENVS EXPEDITION. 187
of M. Briere de l'lsle, with a handsome mantle and a
gun mounted with silver.
At Soukoutaly Captain Gallieni received further
proof of the hatred in which the Toucouleurs are held
in these regions. The chief men of Tomora, a country-
subject to the king of Segou, sought Gallieni, asking
if they and all their people might be allowed to cross
the river and take up their abode within the protection
of the new station of Bafoulabd Captain Gallieni
answered, that it was not part of his scheme to mix
himself up with the affairs of Amadou, but that his
petitioners could do as they pleased. The men under-
stood what was meant, and Captain Gallieni after-
wards learned that they had put their project into
The empire of Amadou is now but the relic of the
vast conquests of the prophet El Hadj Oumar, and is
fast losing power and prestige. The peoples of Mal-
inke' and Bambarra have long groaned under its
intolerable yoke, and only wait an opportunity of
breaking free from the domination of the Mussulman,
the worst enemy of both the white and black races in
this part of Africa.
Journeying across a fertile region, the explorers
presently arrived at Badumbe. Badumbe' is surrounded
by a wall of solid masonry — one of the most remark-
able constructions met with by the travellers in
Africa. The object of this embattlement was no
188 CAPTAIN GALLIENI'S EXPEDITION.
doubt to protect the inhabitants against the attacks
of the Toucouleurs. In shape it approached a quadri-
lateral, and was naturally protected on one side by
the Bakhoy, on two other sides by affluents of that
river, and on the fourth by the mountains. The
enclosure was a polygon, containing a round tower
furnished with a sally-port. The wall of the tower
followed a zigzag course, which enabled those holding
the fort to open a cross fire as well as a direct fire.
Lofty parapets allowed also of a fire being kept up
The people of Badumbe' received the expedition
with much cordiality, regarding them as the enemies
of the Toucouleurs. One brought a sheep, another a
chicken, a third a calabash of milk, a fourth a bag of
corn for Captain Gallieni's horse — all vied in showing
attention to the strangers.
At Badumbe' the caravan remained one day, en-
camped on a hot and desolate plain, under the very
inadequate shade of two or three acacia trees. The
white men were an object of much curiosity to the
natives of the place ; their clothes, and especially their
trowsers, exciting much wonder and amusement. One
of the young negresses asked to be allowed to touch
Captain Gallieni's bare arm, that she might assure
herself that the flesh was the same as her own.
The nearer the explorers approached to the Niger,
the difficulties of the journey increased. The further
CAPTAIN GALLIENVS EXPEDITION. 189
they advanced, the slighter their knowledge grew of
the ground they were traversing, and the less prepared
were they to meet the obstacles of the march,
Beyond Badumbe the valley widens considerably
and becomes more undulating. The Bakhoy describes
towards the north the arc of a circle, and the path
leading to Fangalla follows the circumference of
An elephant-hunter of Badumbe' was found to act
as guide to the expedition as far as Fangalla. The
route led through a forest where it was often neces-
sary to cut a path for the animals with the sword.
Fangalla was once the capital of Farimboula, and its
populous villages stretched along the banks of the
Bakhoy and over the islands which dot its waters.
The king of Fangalla was rich in herds and flocks,
and the people were prosperous and brave. But thirty
years ago a horde of Mussulmans swept down on
Fangalla, plundered its inhabitants, harried their
cattle, devastated the fields, and retired, leaving be-
hind them desolation and ruin. It may be said,
generally, that wherever the followers of the Prophet
pass in Africa, misery and ruin follow in their wake.
On the morning of the 13th the caravan reached
the falls of Bily. At this point in its course, the
river, confined between two rocky cliffs, falls in suc-
cessive cascades to form the cataract, which is of con-
siderable height and volume, and resembles the Gouina
190 CAPTAIN G ALLIEN VS EXPEDITION.
fall. The water falls vertically ; the rocks are smooth
and polished, and, worn in many places by the current
and the pebbles, form little subterranean streams
which unite their several waters with the main cata-
ract as it tumbles with a crash into the basin below.
Beyond the Bily fall the path pursued by the
travellers led again along the river, and was with
difficulty followed, owing to the stony character of the
ground. The country, bare in certain parts, was
covered in others with absolutely virgin forest ; —
acacias of very graceful shape ; tamarinds of dense
and beautiful foliage; khadd trees, whose falling leaves
foretold the approach of winter; and fig-trees, on
which parasitic roots drooped to the ground from the
higher branches like the cordage of a ship. The
whole forest was densely interlaced with creeping
plants which hung their festoons from tree to tree,
and proved a formidable obstacle to the progress of the
caravan, obliging the constant use of hatchet and
sword. The horsemen were ever and anon compelled
to bend low to avoid the branches and threatening
thorns. The mules, becoming frequently entangled
among; the boughs, found the march a most difficult
one ; but as the good-natured old Sambo, one of
Captain Gallieni's native companions, said, laughing
his great laugh, while the leader was watching the
baggage with an anxious eye, " Fear nothing, captain ;
believe me, the cargo is solid."
FOREST NEAR THE BILY FALLS. ON THE BAKHOY.
CAPTAIN GALLIENI'S EXPEDITION. 193
On the 14th the passage of the Bakhoy began.
The first section of the caravan led the way ; all the
ass-drivers, carrying their baggage on their heads,
entered the stream, taking care not to fall on the
slippery rocks of the ford. The baggage having been
got safely across, the asses had to be led over. Then
followed the muleteers and spahis, each leading his
beast by the bridle and carrying his saddle on his
head. Lastly came Captain Gallieni, with naked feet
and legs, feeling his way with a stick.
By mid-day the crossing was successfully accom-
plished, and the whole camp was treated, in honour of
the event, to a double ration of meat and rice. Across
this broad river there had been transported, in the
course of a few hours, six hundred and fifty loads of
baggage and nearly four hundred horses, mules, oxen,
During the afternoon Captain Gallieni took the
opportunity of the halt to send for three of the ass-
drivers who had frequently of late signalized them-
selves by their laziness and insubordination. The
caravan was in the middle of the desert, and the poor
wretches cast themselves at Captain Gallieni's feet and
implored pardon, declaring that for the future they
would be models of obedience. Two of them were
willing to resume their duties as ass-drivers ; but the
third, Mamadou Si, a turbulent and surly Toucouleur,
refused. This man had already shown at Bakel his
194 CAPTAIN GALLIENI 'S EXPEDITION.
insubordinate spirit, and at Medine" had instigated a
conspiracy that had all but deprived Captain Gallieni
of twenty of his followers. On that occasion the
leader restrained himself from doing as he would have
liked ; but at Toukoto he seized the opportunity of a
complaint which Mamadou Si made against the chief
of his section, to expel the unruly member from the
camp — a severe but deserved and necessary punish-
The sojourn of the explorers at Goniokori was
fraught with special interest, as will be presently seen.
Goniokori is composed of three separate villages built
at intervals of three or four hundred yards, in a plain
of great fertility and planted with beautiful bread-
fruit and cedar trees. The grand mountain mass of
Badougou lies to the north, the peak of Gotekrou to
the east, a rocky plateau extends to the south, while
the Bakhoy bounds the plain on the west. The three
villages together do not contain more than five hun-
dred inhabitants, but represent, nevertheless, the capi-
tal of Fouladougou, that extensive territory which em-
braces all the country between Kaarta-Be'le'dougou, and
Captain Gallieni was much surprised at the poverty
and barbarity of the king and people of Goniokori.
He had expected to find a rich and powerful chief,
for he was the descendant of an ancient line of kings.
The reception which he gave to the leaders of the expedi-
CAPTAIN GALLIENI'S EXPEDITION. 197
tion was a mixture of indifference and awe. Its great
numbers evidently caused him more fear than joy ; and
although Captain Gallieni endeavoured to make it
clear to him that the white men had come to assist
him against his foes the Toucouleurs, the chief did not
seem to comprehend, and his attitude remained one of
mingled resignation and imbecility.
This singular chief had a brother who governed one
of the three villages. This brother was as noisy and
demonstrative as the other was reserved and indif-
ferent. From the excitement of his speech and ges-
tures it was easily seen that this fellow was drunk.
An old negress, also manifestly the worse for dolo*
followed him like his shadow, speaking in a thick
and inarticulate fashion, graced with many hiccoughs.
Finding that he could make nothing of the royal
drunkard, Captain Gallieni addressed himself to an
old man who had been regarding the white men with
an air of much interest, and who now pushed his way
through the crowd of women and children whom curi-
osity had collected around the strangers.
This old man informed Captain Gallieni and his
companions that on the spot where the camp was
now pitched had stood the house of Mansa Numma,
the king of all Fouladougou, then a rich and power-
ful monarch. " One day — I was not born then,"
continued the man — "a man of strange appearance
* An intoxicating drink made of fermented millet.
198 CAPTAIN G ALLIEN VB EXPEDITION.
appeared on the left bank of the river, in front of the
village. He called out in an unknown language, and,
seeing that no one understood his words, plunged into
the river and landed in the midst of the chief men
who were gathered on the bank. One gave him a
house for the night, another brought couscous and
milk, and all treated him hospitably. In depart-
ing, the white chief left behind him fine presents.
He showed himself kind and generous, and amply-
repaid the king for his hospitality by presenting him
with a beautiful silver bracelet. That bracelet had
always been worn by the head of the royal family,
until the fatal day when El Hadj pillaged the
treasure of the chiefs of Fouladougou, and carried
away the bracelet to Segou." The speaker concluded
by saying that the white men whom he was address-
ing were richer than the one who had come long ago,
and that they would show themselves equally gen-
erous by replacing the lost bracelet, and by making
other presents still more beautiful.
This speech was listened to by Captain Gallieni
and his companions with the greatest interest. It
was the first traces they had come upon of Mungo
Park, their predecessor in these regions, and the ex-
plorers experienced a legitimate satisfaction in resting
on the spot which the illustrious English traveller
had chosen for his encampment sixty-five years ago,
and where no European had been since. Captain
CAPTAIN GALLIENI'S EXPEDITION. 199
Gallieni, having consulted the narrative of that pioneer
of African exploration, discovered a trifling detail
omitted by the old Malinke' — namely, that the white
man had been robbed by the grandfather of the then
The next halt was made at Manambougou, a little
village enclosed between the peak of Gote"krou and a
lofty mountain range, and lying at the bottom of a
lovely valley. The fortunate inhabitants of this
beautiful little corner of the world are very different
in character from their savage neighbours of Gonio-
kori, being docile, quiet, and remarkably well clothed.
The chief, accompanied by several of his suite, came
to welcome the white men, with much natural dig-
nity — a noble old man, with a tranquil and intelli-
gent face, wearing a long and very becoming cloak,
a turban on his head, and bearing a fine carved staff
in his hand. His costume and bearing recalled in no
slight degree the figures of the Bible patriarchs.
Captain Gallieni learned that the old chief had trav-
elled a great deal, and that he was well beloved by
Beyond Manambougou the march became very diffi-
cult. It led up a rocky incline, debouching on a
plateau sloping towards the east, and covered with
ferruginous gray-stone, slippery for the feet, and offer-
ing a very toilsome path for the animals.
At length the Kegneko was gained. This small
200 CAPTAIN GALLIENVS EXPEDITION.
stream is from fifteen to twenty yards broad, and
about fifteen feet in depth. The men, under the
direction of Sergeant Sadioka and Corporal Benis,
began to construct an impromptu bridge across the
river. Two large trees were felled, one on each side
of the stream, and their trunks, falling crosswise,
formed a sort of letter X. Along the arms of the
letter branches were laid longitudinally, and on these
again were spread leafy shoots of the bamboo, together
with ferns and grass. When the whole was covered
with turf, a bridge was formed sufficiently strong and
secure, across which the whole caravan passed in
A long and difficult march brought the travellers
to Bondoro, a village in the Kita country, and they
were presently at the base of the famous mountain
of Kita. An hour later, the young King Tokonta
met the strangers at the entrance of his village, and
bade them welcome with great courtesy.
Tokonta had got ready for the accommodation of
his guests a spacious hut, which, however, was found
to be too near the village. The camp was accordingly
pitched at a distance of three or four hundred yards
off, in the middle of the plain. The first goal of the
expedition had now been reached, and the leader
judged it expedient to rest his followers and himself
for a few days, before taking the route for the Niger.
Kita — or rather Makadiambougo, for Kita is the
CAPTAIN GALLIENI 'S EXPEDITION. 203
name of the whole region — may be called the key of
all this part of the Soudan, and in a commercial aspect
occupies a position of the greatest importance. On
one side it commands the road to the Niger, and on
the other that leading to the territories of the Moors.
The object of the expedition at Kita was to con-
clude a treaty with the king, which should place the
country under the protectorate of France. Captain
Gallieni hoped to establish at Makadiambougo a
military and commercial station, which might open
up a way to central Soudan. He began, therefore,
without delay negotiations with Tokonta. But he
was met at the outset with difficulties, unexpected but
easy enough of explanation.
Kita is very near Mourgoula, the Toucouleur
fortress which holds in subjection all the Malinke
population, from Manding as far as Fouladougou.
On the other hand, Nioro, ruled by Mountaga, the
brother of the king of Segou, is not far off towards
the north. Thus the king of Kita finds himself most
inconveniently situated between two enemies, and has
often, to avoid ruin to himself, to separate his cause
from that of the other Malinke' peoples, and to take no
part in their attempts at revolt. He must take every
occasion of proving his fidelity to Amadou. It is
easily understood, therefore, why Tokonta hesitated
about allying himself to the French, the declared ene-
mies of the Toucouleurs. " No doubt," said he, " the
204 CAPTAIN GALLTENI'S EXPEDITION.
French are rich and powerful ; but they are far away
from my country."
Days passed in these negotiations. Tokonta main-
tained a silent and reserved attitude, though, in truth,
he was in great agitation as to the outcome of the
parley. Alpha Sega, the interpreter to the expedi-
tion, received carte-blanche in regard to presents with
which to win over the chief. The interviews between
Alpha Sega and the native notables were accompanied
by a large consumption of dolo, or maize beer, of
which all the Malinke nations are extremely fond ;
and often did the interpreter return at night to Cap-
tain Gallieni, to report the result of the day's parley,
with his utterance much impaired by the severe labours
of the day.
At length Captain Gallieni and his lieutenants hit
upon a device to bring the wavering Tokonta to a final
decision. The chief was at feud with the neighbour-
ing village of Goubanko, and the French leader threat-
ened, unless the king came to terms, to treat with the
enemy. An envoy was actually despatched to Gou-
banko to carry out this project. Tokonta became
alarmed, and, after a little further parley, agreed to
sign the treaty.
On the 25th April, the king of Kita, surrounded
by his sons and the chiefs and notables, set his sig-
nature to the document which placed all the Kita
territory under the protectorate of France, and au-
CAPTAIN OALLIENI'S EXPEDITION. 205
thorized that nation to erect, on any site they might
choose, such stations and establishments as they should
Captain Gallieni desired to celebrate this signal
episode in the history of the mission in some fitting
way, and at the desire of Tokonta a military spectacle
was arranged by the expedition.
All the preliminaries being ready, the camp pre-
sented a quite brilliant appearance. The tirailleurs
and the spahis, wearing their handsome Oriental cos-
tumes, formed one side of a square. The muleteers
and ass-drivers had also exchanged their travel- worn
clothes of every day for bright white and blue jackets,
which were kept stowed away for grand occasions
such as the present. The black sailors did duty as
artillerymen, taking up their position at one angle of
the square. The leaders themselves had donned hand-
some cloaks of white flannel, slashed with black ; and
in a word, everything was done to excite the imagina-
tion of the Malinkes, who crowded from every quarter
to be present at the spectacle. As for Alpha Sega,
the interpreter, he shone resplendent in a grand Turk-
ish military costume, covered with gold braiding — a
dress which was destined for Amadou, but which was
lent to Alpha Sega for this occasion. In the centre
of the square a tall flagstaff was raised, from which
fluttered a large tricolor : and Captain Gallieni re-
cords how the hearts of himself and his companions
206 CAPTAIN GALLIENI'S EXPEDITION.
beat at beholding their national colours floating over
the plains of Kita, the possession of which secured to
France all the valley of the Bakhoy, the direct route
to the Niger.
The tirailleurs executed their various military move-
ments ; then the rapid discharge of the chassepots
excited the wonder of the savage spectators. But the
enthusiasm rose to a height when the spahis, wearing
their turbans and beautiful red mantles, curveted
over the plain, cutting the air this way and that with
their sabres, their handsome horses at full gallop.
During these manoeuvres the ass-drivers fired their
guns, and the small cannons manned by the black sailors
kept up an unceasing fusilade. Never before had
the onlookers beheld a scene so striking, and their
admiration approached stupefaction.
Thus the negotiations at Kita were terminated with
eclat, and lengthy despatches were sent off to M.
Briere de ITsle, under the care of a son of Tokonta,
advising him of the success of the mission thus far.
The departure of the expedition from Kita took
place on April 27th. The beasts of burden had suf-
fered much of late from sore backs, and several of the
mules and asses were dying every day. Twenty-one
animals died in all, and their loads had to be distri-
buted among the surviving mules and asses, already
reduced almost to the extremity of weakness. For-
tunately, a rich plain was presently reached, which
IT*', J ■ ■
CAPTAIN QALLIENI'S EXPEDITION. 209
afforded an ample supply of grass ; and soon after,
the caravan halted on the banks of the Bandingho.
Dr. Tautain immediately set about devising mea-
sures for crossing the river. The passage looked im-
practicable. Steep banks, between thirty and forty
feet high, formed a lofty barrier, blocked up with
great masses of gray stone. The right bank, rising in
a peak, was composed of stiff" red clay, almost as hard
as rock. The left bank was a little less difficult of
access, and led to a ford not very deep, and sufficiently
easy to cross.
Dr. Tautain applied himself to the situation with
zeal. The tirailleurs succeeded in making a sort of
staircase for the animals in the left bank ; but shovel
and pick were of little avail against the stiff" soil of
the opposite bank, and the workmen had to be con-
tent with constructing a rough and irregular escalade.
The mules had now to be got across this stairway.
The muleteers, assisted by the spahis and tirailleurs,
endeavoured to make the crossing ; but it was labour
lost. They easily enough descended the pathway
made in the left bank, but were altogether unable to
ascend the cliff' on the right bank. At this juncture
Sambo came to the rescue. Disengaging one of the
long cords that secured the loads, he passed it round
the croup of a mule, while the two ends were grasped
by men standing on the top of the bank. A muleteer,
grasping hold of some bushes which had contrived to
210 CAPTAIN GALLIENI'S EXPEDITION.
take root in that hard soil, dragged the mule by the
bridle. At a given signal, the poor beast, dragged by
the bridle and pulled by the rope from above, was at
last hoisted to the top of the cliff.
About mid-day the ford presented a curious scene; —
one of the cliffs covered with animals with long-eared
heads, all pointed towards the river ; the other bank
crowded with the tirailleurs still engaged in finishing
the escalade, and hard at work with pick and shovel ;
mid-way an odd medley of asses thirstily drinking,
natives assisting in getting the animals across, and
doing all with faces of almost preternatural gravity, —
the whole picture framed in by the great trees which
covered the lofty banks of the Bandingho.
At last, an hour after sunset, the work was over
and the transit of the entire caravan completed. No
mishap had befallen, and the fatigues of the day were
quickly forgotten by all over a good dinner.
The march was resumed on the following day in
good order and in good spirits. On the 30 th April
the caravan passed the mountains of Bangassi, the
sight of which recalled to the travellers recollections
of Mungo Park, who makes mention of this range in
his journal. The surrounding country is desolate and
The caravan at this stage began to suffer from
thirst, and Alassane and two others of the guides were
sent forward to search for water. Fortunately an
CROSSING THE BANDINQHO.
CAPTAIN GALLIENI'S EXPEDITION. 213
abundant water-course was discovered not far off, and
on its banks the camp was pitched. The borders of
the stream were covered with the tracks of animals of
large size, among which were the prints of lions,
antelopes, and giraffes.
Rain fell in deluges during the night, and the
camp was well-nigh inundated. Little sleep was
enjoyed by any one, and the day was welcomed with
relief. This heavy rainfall warned the travellers of
the approach of winter — an uneasy thought, for the
flooding of the rivers and creeks would considerably
increase the difficulties of the march, while the damp
malarious weather would, in all probability, materially
lower the general health of the camp.
Gallieni had ever present in his memory that ill-
fated expedition of Mungo Park in this very region,
when his comrades perished one by one. Out of
thirty -nine who accompanied that explorer from
Gambia, five alone returned with him to Bammakoo.
The morning of May 1st was entirely occupied in
" drying the camp " — tents, blankets, saddles, and
raiment — a mighty fire having been built for this
purpose. Suddenly, while engaged in this business,
the general attention was attracted by a loud noise
and movement in that part of the camp nearest the
river. Everybody — spahis, tirailleurs, muleteers, and
ass-drivers — rushed to the bank, brandishing all kinds
of weapons, — guns, swords, lances, sticks ; Yoro the
214 CAPTAIN Q ALLIEN VS EXPEDITION.
chef among the rest, interrupted while in the pre-
paration of dinner, flourishing his cook's knife. Old
Sambo declared that the cause of the commotion was
a tiger, which, surprised by a spahi who had been
taking his horse to drink, had plunged into the river.
Captain Gallieni and the other leaders seized their
rifles, and were immediately in the thick of the crowd.
N'Gor Faye, the hunter of Kobaboulinda, was already
mid-way in the stream in pursuit of the creature
which had raised such a commotion. The throng' on
the bank shouted and gesticulated, making an uproar
of which it was impossible to discover the real cause.
For a long time the object of the chase remained
beneath the water in a manner that made it difficult
to believe the creature either a tiger or a panther.
At length there appeared above the surface the head
of a large otter, which soon fell the prey of N'Gor
Faye. When Sambo was rallied about his tiger, he
was equal to the occasion, replying, " Well, the otter
is the water-tiger !"
The next most important halt made by the expedi-
tion was at Koundou, the principal village of Foula-
dougou, containing some seven or eight hundred
inhabitants. Lieutenant Valliere, in advance of the
main body of the caravan, had prepared the way for
the reception of the expedition at Koundou. He had
been met by the chief and his warriors in a hilarious
and excited condition from over -draughts of dolo.
CAPTAIN GALLIENI'S EXPEDITION. 215
But on the following day, when the effects of the
revel had disappeared, the king and notables of
Koundou had listened favourably to Lieutenant Val-
liere's overtures, accompanied as they were by a pres-
ent of cloths. Thus when Captain Gallieni arrived
with the main body he was hospitably welcomed by
the Koundou chieftain.
The river Baoule" divides the Malinke's from the
Bambarras, the Fouladougou country from the Be'le-
dougou. The latter is a fine country, well watered by
the Baoule" and its affluents, and characterized by the
luxuriance of its vegetation. Some two hundred and
fifty villages, hidden in dells and hollows, and sur-
rounded with strong walls, occupy the cleared spaces in
the forest. The inhabitants of this vast territory are
at constant feud among themselves or with their
neighbours, and live almost entirely by pillage.
The Fouladougou natives showed a hostile front to
the expedition. At Guinina, when Captain Gallieni
sought an interview with the chief, a handsome old
man of stalwart carriage, the latter received the white
leader coldly, and told him plainly that he neither
trusted him nor understood his intentions.
" For whom," said he, " are all these presents that
you bring with you? "
The unfriendliness of the negro king was evident,
and Captain Gallieni felt sure that he would lose no
favourable opportunity of showing it. Under these
216 CAPTAIN GALLIENI'S EXPEDITION.
circumstances the leader took all expedient precautions
against possible surprise. The camp was strengthened
and protected as far as it could be by piling up the
baggage so as to form a sort of rampart. The spahis
and muleteers were stationed on guard on one side of
the encampment, the tirailleurs on the other, while the
animals were placed in the middle, where also the
tent of the leaders was pitched. At the angles of the
square thus formed were placed the guns (mounted
on carriages constructed from the trunks of trees),
directed upon the gates of the village, and on the
forest surrounding the open space where the camp
In the evening the guard of spahis and tirailleurs
was doubled, and from time to time Captain Gallieni
caused coloured lights and rockets to be discharged,
with the object of striking awe into the hearts of the
natives. Later in the night, when all was silent about
the camp, a patrol of the village walls was made, when
a loud noise as of men in eager discussion was heard
within. Two of Captain Gallieni's native followers
who understood the Bambarra language announced
that the debate referred to an attack upon the white
men, who " had come into the Be'le'dougou country to
deceive the people, and to aid the Toucouleurs in sub-
On the following morning, May 9th, Captain Gal-
lieni sent to ask the Guinina chief for guides for the
CAPTAIN GALLIENI'S EXPEDITION. 217
journey, when the old king, who had shown himself so
cold on the previous day, not only proposed to send
guides but also men to help in carrying the baggage.
Captain Gallieni, however, was not duped by this
excess of complaisance. Next day, the old man,
impressed no doubt by seeing the guns directed
upon the walls of his village, did actually provide five
guides chosen from his own household, in return for
which service he was to receive a satisfactory present
— four pieces of yellow cloth, six swords, a keg of
rum, etc. Captain Gallieni thought it expedient to
accept these conditions. The guides were received ;
and by mid-day everything was ready for the march.
In the evening of the same day the caravan reached
Dio. Here the same defensive precautions were
taken as at Guinina. When the leader sought
audience of the chief he found his path barred by a
group of natives, who informed him that the king
was too old to leave his house, and that he had
charged them to receive the white man and treat him
The village itself seemed to contain very few in-
habitants, for within the walls almost total silence
reigned. These ambassadors of the king, however,
seemed disposed to be friendly, assuring the strangers
that they had nothing to fear. They promised guides
for the morrow, and one of the king's brothers offered
himself to accompany the expedition as far as the Niger.
218 CAPTAIN GALLIENI'S EXPEDITION.
The situation appeared to be becoming less "strained,"
in diplomatic phrase ; but at night, the patrol which
Captain Gallieni had despatched to reconnoitre the
walls brought back word to the camp that the village,
which had appeared to be empty of inhabitants, was,
in reality, full of warriors, who were now planning an
attack upon the expedition. The crisis was a suf-
ficiently grave one, for every path back to the
Senegal was closed to the explorers, and for a little it
seemed as if nothing remained but to sell their lives
Early on the morning of the 11th Captain Gallieni
despatched a handsome present to the chief of Dio,
and received in turn six large bags of millet, together
with the promise of two good guides. Here the five
youths of Guinina, who were to accompany the cara-
van as far as the Niger, informed Captain Gallieni
that they were fatigued and wished to return home.
Shortly after mid-day the caravan was in motion,
following a straight path for the Baoule. A death-
like silence reigned around. The village, the forest,
the river, all seemed deserted. There was something
mysterious and ominous in the intense stillness.
"You'll see, captain," said Barka, the old Senegalee, —
" you'll see, something's going to happen."
The stream was crossed without difficulty, and the
horsemen were penetrating the forest, every eye on
the watch, the muskets slung across the saddle, the
CAPTAIN G ALLIEN VS EXPEDITION. 221
revolvers ready to the hand. Some minutes passed.
The guide, under the pretext of avoiding a difficult
path for the animals, led the way to the right, through
a narrow ravine bounded by lofty and steep slopes.
Captain Gallieni felt sure that they had left the right
path, and immediately arrested the guide, who, with
feigned amazement, threw himself at the leader's feet,
and rent the air with his protestations. Barka
silenced the fellow's howling at the sword point.
At that moment a discharge of musketry was heard
in the direction of the river, and before the echoes had
ceased in the forest, a horde of yelling savages were
pouring from all sides upon the caravan.
For a moment all was confusion, for the attack was
so sudden and at such close quarters that Gallieni's
men were unable to use their arms. Presently, how-
ever, the spahis and tirailleurs rallied in an open
space of ground, and pouring upon their assailants a
deadly fire very soon cleared a circle around them.
After hard fighting, some ruined battlements which
had once formed part of the wall of Dio were gained,
and here good vantage-ground was found from which
to conduct the defence. The caravan was not a
moment too soon in escaping from the deadly cul-de-
sac into which it had fallen. The enemy continued
the attack with shot and spear, but the fire was
returned with equal energy. In the first confusion of
the surprise, the caravan had got separated into two
222 CAPTAIN GALLIENI'S EXPEDITION.
parts, and the rear, consisting chiefly of the beasts of
burden and their conductors, was still close to the
river, under the command of Dr. Tautain.
The savages fought fiercely in their native fashion,
while Captain Gallieni's men, enraged at the treachery
of the Beleris, maintained an indomitable front, obeying
the leader's orders with perfect coolness, and exclaim-
ing that they would fight to the last extremity. They
threw themselves in front of the leader's horse and
covered him with their own bodies ! Again and again
Barka, leading the spahis, returned from the combat
with his sabre red with blood, only to recover breath
enough to renew his impetuous onslaught. Captain
Gallieni records that his natives showed a courage, oil
this occasion of terrible odds, worthy of European
By-and-by, the havoc which followed the fire of
Captain Gallieni's men, the courage of the tirailleurs
and spahis, the invulnerability which seemed to
shield the white men — all this cooled the ardour of
the Beleris, and the battle had not lasted more than
half an hour, when Captain Gallieni succeeded in
cutting a path through the enemy and in rejoining
the rear part of the caravan. As they did so,
they beheld the interpreter Alassane carrying Dr.
Tautain on the croup of his saddle, followed by the
survivors of the rear-guard. The doctor had been
forced to dismount from his horse early in the fray,
CAPTAIN GALLIENI 'S EXPEDITION. 223
the animal having become restive and unmanageable,
and had headed his men on foot until the over-
whelming numbers of the enemy had compelled him
and his little band to retreat.
As rapidly as possible the leaders now began to
reorganize the caravan. The most expedient course
seemed to be to make for the Niger, which Captain
Gallieni hoped by forced marching to reach by the
Everything was at last ready for the retreat. The
dead and wounded, to the number of forty in all, were
placed on the horses and mules. The spahis led the
caravan under the guidance of Barka, who received
orders to strike directly for the east, and to hold on
his way through all opposing difficulties. In silence
and sadness the march towards the Niger began,
through an unknown country, beset with enemies on
The caravan quitted the basin of the Senegal only
to enter that of the Niger. As the travellers ap-
proached the neighbourhood of the great river, a
walled village was sighted, situated at the foot of a
range of hills, and a group of natives, watching their
herds and surprised at the approach of the caravan.
At the same time it was announced to Captain
Gallieni that the Beleris were close behind, and were
gathering on the surrounding heights.
What was to be done ? It seemed better to approach
224 CAPTAIN GALLIENI'S EXPEDITION.
the people of this new village, which might possibly
belong to the Bammakou country, rather than to risk
a second conflict with the Bambarras. Gallieni
accordingly drew near the group of natives, which
was rapidly increasing in numbers. They sat silent
and motionless now, not disturbed by the sight of a
white man approaching them alone and unarmed.
Through Alassane the interpreter, Captain Gallieni
recounted the events of the previous day — the treason
of the Bambarras towards a man who was the friend
of Bammakou, and who had come to that village as a
peace-maker, under the conduct of the son of one of
the greatest chiefs of that country.
The natives listened attentively, and at the close of
Gallieni's speech assured him that he need fear
nothing further at the hands of the Beleris. Then
one brought water and another calabashes of native
wine, and the white man was reassured.
On the following day the new allies provided
guides, the march was resumed, and at mid-day the
Niger was beheld afar, rolling through the plain in
an easterly direction. But how different was the
arrival of the expedition at the great river from what
had been hoped for ! The caravan was, in truth, in a
pitiable plight, deprived of almost all resources and
ignorant of what might happen'bn the morrow.
A little later, Captain Gallieni was met by Albdar-
amane, who brought news of Lieutenants Valliere and
CAPTAIN GALLIENI'S EXPEDITION. 225
Pietri. It must here be explained that Valliere had
separated from Gallieni at Kita, and had by this time
arrived at Bammakou, where a treaty had been con-
eluded which placed that village under the protec-
torate of the French.
At one o'clock of the same day Captain Gallieni
himself reached Bammakou, where he was met by
Pietri and Valliere, who soon placed him in possession
of all that had happened since they parted. They
had been well received at Be'le'dougou and at Dio,
while at Bammakou their welcome had been of the
most sympathetic kind.
The camp was pitched before Bammakou, an im-
portant station, whose influence extends throughout
all the region of the Upper Niger, from Timbuctoo as
far as Tangrela and Sierra Leone. Yet it is no more
than a village, occupying an isolated position in a
little corner of Be'le'dougou, with a population of not
more than eight hundred.
Since the night of the 8th at Guinina no individual
in the camp had closed an eye ; the wounded were in
a most pitiable condition, some of the men suffering
from four or five wounds — rest was indispensable for
all. Unfortunately, the reception accorded to Captain
Gallieni at Bammakou, unlike that of Valliere and
Pietri, was cold in the extreme. The story of the
pillage of the expedition at the hands of the Beleris
had now reached Bammakou, and the people feared to
226 CAPTAIN OALLIENI'S EXPEDITION.
compromise themselves with the Beleris. To the salu-
tation which Captain Gallieni sent to the chief the
latter replied : " A great misfortune has befallen you,
for which I can provide no remedy. All I can do is
to suffer you to depart with your possessions."
We must here interrupt for a little the story of the
main expedition, under the leadership of Captain
Gallieni, to give the narrative of Lieutenant Valliere,
who separated from Captain Gallieni at Kita for the
purpose of exploring the valley of the Bakhoy.
This journey was made through a region hitherto
unvisited by any European.
The expedition had rested ten days at Kita, and
then, while the main body of the caravan directed its
march towards the east by way of Bangassi, a small
detachment under the command of Lieutenant Valliere
took the road to Mourgoula.
After a pretty long stage the village of Goubanko
was reached, at the gates of which Lieutenant Valliere
was met by a party of men who seemed about to oppose
the entrance of himself and his followers. On request-
ing to be conducted to the chief, Lieutenant Valliere was
presented to a number of old men seated on the ground.
All were blind, and so old as to have lost the power of
articulate speech ! To a younger man Valliere explained
that his mission was entirely one of peace. The young
man thanked the white man simply, and the old chiefs
mumbled some confused words of gratitude.
CAPTAIN OALLIENI'S EXPEDITION. 227
Goubanko is a strongly fortified village, and its in-
habitants are an energetic people. Lieutenant
Valliere was struck with the fine features of the
notables of the place, the paleness of their complexion,
and the reserved dignity of their manners. In the
evening Captain Gallieni and four spahis entered the
camp, and the two white leaders were a little later
engaged in a palaver with the people of the village,
in which the affairs of Kita were fully discussed.
The scene was a curious one. The night had fallen ;
no light, save that of the stars and what came from
two forges hard by, lit up the assembly; and the
swarthy forms and faces of the natives gleamed fan-
tastically in the half-light.
The next day Lieutenant Valliere again set out.
Khoumo the guide was not to be found, and another
had to be obtained in his place. While the little
troop was proceeding quietly through a forest, a spahi
galloped up to the leader and handed him a letter, the
perusal of which explained the enigmatic conduct of
Master Khoumo. At Kita the guide had carried off
two women, whom he had hidden at Goubanko, which
village he had just quitted. This escapade had caused
Captain Gallieni considerable annoyance, and he had
sent word to Lieutenant Valliere to send back the
Khoumo's arrival in camp was sufficiently ludicrous.
He was riding at a trot, one of the women before
228 CAPTAIN OALLIENVS EXPEDITION.
him, the other behind. His ugly face peered
comically from under a big straw hat, between the
faces of his fair companions. The panting and
smoking steed looked as if protesting against his
unusual burden, and not quite able to make out the
six legs dangling across his back.
Khoumo dismounted amid the laughter of his
fellows, followed by the two dusky Helens, silent
with astonishment at all that was happening. On
Khoumo being ordered to return the two stolen
women at once, he answered that he had not stolen
them ; that he loved Aisse" to distraction, and that the
other loved him as violently, and would follow him in
spite of everything ! In the face of the fact that the
gallant was of conspicuous ugliness, this statement of
the case was extremely ludicrous. Moreover, certain
parcels of calico and guinea-cloth which the ladies
were carrying tended to put a different complexion
upon the story.
Lieutenant Valliere ordered the spahi to take the
two women, while Khoumo rent the air with his
lamentations, shrieking, " Aissd ! Aisse* ! " Five
minutes later, the party having resumed the march,
Valliere heard the heart-broken lover explaining in a
light tone to his comrades that the captain had acted
quite right, and that he (Khoumo) had got his deserts.
Some hours later, when the party were resting in
the heat of the day beneath a leafy screen of trees,
CAPTAIN GALLIENI'S EXPEDITION. 229
Lieutenant Valliere discovered that Khoumo had again
vanished. At mid-day he reappeared covered with
dust and perspiration. He had followed the spahi
and Aisse', and suborned the former to give up his
lady-love. Valliere peremptorily ordered Khoumo to
say where he had hidden Aisse' a second time. The
rascal stammered and hesitated, and then called
" Aisse' ! " who presently issued from her hiding-place,
a few yards from the camp. The spahi once more took
possession of the woman ; while Khoumo, giving way
to a fit of passion, refused to accompany the party
any longer, caught up a gun, and threatened to shoot
any one who approached him. He was seized and
disarmed, and it was made plain to him that if he
tried to escape he would be at once shot.
In the afternoon Lieutenant Valliere quitted
Bammakou, and directed his course for the lagoon of
Delaba, but soon found his march obstructed by a
succession of pools forming a channel now almost dry.
The guide informed him that they had reached
Delaba, and the leader decided to camp here. To-
wards nightfall a violent wind arose, the lightning
flashed, and a thunder-clap split a lemon-tree close to
the camp. The party were wholly without shelter,
and were presently exposed to the full fury of a
tornado of unusual violence. The dust enveloped
them in a whirlwind, while their faces and hands were
literally whipped by the pebbles which the fury of the
230 CAPTAIN GALLIENVS EXPEDITION.
storm raised. The men durst open neither eyes nor
mouth for fear of being blinded or stifled, and all
thought with dread of the long night before them.
The rain had already begun, and a night of exposure
to tropical rain often means a fever next day.
Fortunately, the tornado was as short-lived as it was
furious ; the rain came to nothing. The storm was of
a sort characteristic of these latitudes towards the
approach of the winter season.
On the same evening Lieutenant Valliere received
a letter from Captain Gallieni by the hands of a native
porter, and set out next morning, hoping to reach
Mourgoula the same day. The march led first through
a beautiful forest country, and afterwards across great
expanses covered with small stones, and presenting the
curious appearance of having been rained upon by a
thick shower of pebbles.
At two o'clock Sitakoto was reached, and a party
of negroes met with — caravans from the Upper Niger,
as usual, with a train of male and female slaves ; a
miserable sight, from which the white leader was glad
to turn away his eyes.
The party were extremely wearied with a long day's
march, and Valliere's temples throbbed so violently
that for a little he feared he had received a sun-
stroke. By keeping his head for a little time in a
bucket of cold water, however, the pain was alle-
CAPTAIN GALLIENI'S EXPEDITION. 233
The chief of Sitakoto arrived presently, and declared
himself honoured by a visit from the white man ; and
regretted that, owing to his poverty, he could not give
him a fitting reception. All Lieutenant Valliere said
he wished was provisions for his party, for which he
would amply pay. Millet proved very scarce, and
was only procurable at double the usual price.
Late in the afternoon Mourgoula was reached. A
tall Toucouleur, of forbidding aspect, requested Lieu-
tenant Valliere to follow him. The white man was then
informed that Almamy could not receive him at pres-
ent, and that he was at liberty to camp where he chose.
Next morning Almamy still refused to see the
white leader. Valliere told the chief that it was the
governor of St. Louis's business, and that he could
only set out again with regret that he had not seen
Almamy. This had the desired effect : the chief
commanded the white man's presence.
Five or six grave personages were squatted round
the king, who occupied a clean hut, and sat on a
carpet of sheep-skins. An empty bench was placed
for Lieutenant Valliere to sit on, and a sabre was
laid at his feet. Almamy wore a mask which covered
all his face except the eyes, and his head was adorned
with a large turban. Valliere saluted him, explained
the object of the mission, and gave him a letter from
the governor of Senegal. Almamy demanded why
Kita and Goubanko had been reconciled without his
234 t •M'TMN <:.\ u.ikni 's i:\ I'i:i>iti<>.\.
being consulted. Was lie not, the terril orial chief of
the country '.
This brusque reception surprised Valliere a good
deal ; but ho tried to show Almamy that Captain
Gallicni liad acted with all honourable intentions in
arbitrating between the two villages. Alinainy now
read the letter, and his I'aee cleared somewhat.
" The governor of St. Louis speaks well. Thou art
going to Amadou. I.e. welcome. I am only the eye
of my master."
The eilief then offered a guide; and on Lieutenant
Valliere requesting that a courier should be sent
forward with a letter of explanation, consented.
Iwnally, the white leader quitted Almamy on the hest
of terms, having presented him with a gun and a
handsome mantle, while his wives received bottles of
scent, jeweli-y, etc.
In the evening Almamy returned his guest's visit.
He Was now unmasked, and revealed a face of amiable
aspect, with soft eyes. Was this the ferocious tyrant
of report' Almamy had surely the gift of masking
In countenance when he chose in more senses than
one. The chief thanked the white man for his pre
ent, as did his daughter on bended knees.
When Lieutenant Valliere had quitted the village,
he learned that Almamy had secretly hesitated about
allowing him to continue his journey : thus skilful
are the Toueouleurs in the ait of dissimulation.
CAPTAIN OALLIENI'8 EXPEDITION. 888
After a difficult march the travellers reached Kou-
kouroni. Lieutenant Valliere found the inhabitants
a poor and miserable people, who had suffered severely
at the hands of the Toucouleurs. They gathered
about the white strangers in attitudes of the utmost
humility, and when a gun was discharged thought it
witchcraft. The camp was visited by a little girl of
such conspicuous beauty that Lieutenant Valliere
transmitted her graceful form and charming face to
the pages of his sketch-book. She had very beauti-
ful, soft, and dreamy eyes, shining hair crowned with
a coronet of glass beads, while her figure was the
personification of natural grace. The poor people
were dumb with astonishment at the approximate
likeness which Valliere succeeded in catching of the
little Koukouroni beauty.
On the 2nd of May the party reached Niagakoura,
a miserable village with some hundred inhabitants,
situated in the middle of a desert. After a long and
weary march through a hot and stony country, the
travellers at length camped beside a beautiful little
river, thrice welcome after the excessive heat of the
journey. A more favourable camping-ground could
not be desired than under the cool shadow of the
trees that bordered the stream. A bath refreshed the
weary travellers, and a dish of perch from the river
made a welcome change for supper.
The region through which Lieutenant Valliere was
236 CAPTAIN 6 ALLIEN I'S EXPEDITION.
now travelling receives the general name of Birgo —
a well-watered and fertile country, containing but a
scanty population. The people wear little clothing —
the women wearing a girdle only, and the children
going entirely naked. The agricultural products of
the country are chiefly maize and millet and a little
cotton. No oxen are seen anywhere, and only a very
few sheep and goats. Butter-trees abound ; the people
gathering only enough of the fruit to serve their im-
mediate wants. The people have abandoned hunting.
Although one of the chief commercial roads of West
Soudan crosses the country, it leads to no trade with
these people, who are too poor to buy cloth, and are
limited to the exchange of glass beads and such like
for provisions with the passing caravans. The natives
are among the best favoured physically of the Soudan
tribes, and the country possesses many natural advan-
tages. Their miserable condition is due to the baneful
rule of the Toucouleurs. When this is replaced by a
milder and more beneficent government, prosperity
and happiness may yet return to Birgo.
Lieutenant Valliere quitted with regret the beauti-
ful camp, and, resuming the march, reached the walled
village of Niagassola, a considerable, place, with a
population of one thousand. Valliere presented him-
self to the king, and explained as usual the object of
the mission. The chief, an old man of tall and stal-
wart aspect, replied that the stranger was welcome,
CAPTAIN GALLIENI'S EXPEDITION. 237
and that his ancestors had ever treated the white man
Three days' march to the south of Niagassola lies
Boure, a little republic governed by the heads of four
families. An industrious people, little given to war,
occupy the country in security and peace. Lieuten-
ant Valliere visited Boure, and was received by the
reigning prince with much circumstance and ceremony,
which, intended to be impressive, was not a little
comical. After a good deal of preliminary state
etiquette, the white leader was permitted to shake
hands with the aged chief, whom he subsequently
presented with a beautiful rifle.
On the 5 th of May the party reached Koumakhana,
situated in an important gold country, whose mines
constitute the entire wealth of the people. The
natives work the mines wholly with the pick. When
the workmen have reached a certain depth they draw
up the siftings in calabashes attached to cords ; and in
order to facilitate their descent into the mines, they
cut holes in the walls for their hands and feet.
The neighbouring pools supply the facilities for
washing the gold. The more delicate operation of
washing the mineral is intrusted to the women. The
auriferous earth, having been extracted from the
mine, is placed in calabashes filled with clear water.
The workers keep the calabashes moving in a circle,
and gradually the quartz, separating itself from the
238 CAPTAIN GALLIENI'S EXPEDITION.
gravel, falls to the bottom of the vessel. Lieutenant
Valliere was anxious to learn how much gold was
thus purified and made into ingots, but the Koumak-
hana miners refused to give him any idea.
Continuing his journey, Valliere and his comrades
arrived at a broad plateau bounded by the mountains
of Manding, stretching east and by south ; and shortly
after the important village of Narena, with its two
large gates, was reached.
Report credited the people of Narena with being
little given to hospitality, and Lieutenant Valliere was
able to add his testimony to the same effect. He was,
in truth, but brusquely received by the chief, and
deemed it expedient to waste as little time as possible
in his territory.
Shortly after quitting Narena, the party gained the
banks of the beautiful river Amarakoba, whose
golden waters, flowing over their rocky bed, wander
on to join the main river. The travellers were here
followed by a caravan of slaves, composed almost
entirely of children, who, entirely ignorant of the fate
awaiting them, played and gambolled about — bathing
in the river, chasing the fish and insects, and fill-
ing the air with their shouts and laughter. Lieuten-
ant Valliere gathered from the leader of the caravan
many particulars regarding his hateful trade. These
files of slaves, gathered from all parts of Soudan,
were to feed the markets of the Upper Niger, where
CAPTAIN GALLIENI'S EXPEDITION. 239
they were sold to the Moors of Sahara. The profits
accruing from the trade are considerable.
On the day following the meeting with the slave-
caravan, the explorers arrived at Mana-Oule', a very
singular natural conformation, composed of a mountain
presenting a succession of vertical terraced walls,
bastioned, as it were, by all sorts of rocky towers,
which give it the appearance of a gigantic piece of
mason-work. A little further on Nienkema was
reached, built at the foot of a picturesque mass of
rocks ; while a short distance off rose two lofty
obelisks, formed of graystone. These singular pin-
nacles inclined forward at so sharp an angle that they
looked as if threatening at every moment to over-
whelm the unlucky village at their base. The atten-
tion of Lieutenant Valliere was arrested by many
curiously-shaped rocks in this neighbourhood ; some
like vast colonnades, others like gates and porches, all
of most odd and unexpected appearance.
The village of Sibi was next sighted, and the
leader was pushing on with some impatience to reach
it, for his men were fatigued with the march and
the heat, when he was arrested by symptoms of ex-
treme fear on the part of the guide, who was eagerly
listening in the direction of the village, while at the
same time urging silence in the camp. What was up
now ? thought the leader.
Lieutenant Valliere now listened in turn, and
240 CA PTAIN GA LLIENI '5 EXPEDITION.
thought he heard cries in the distance, repeated at
short intervals. The guide declared that it would not
be advisable to approach the village to-day, for that
these cries betokened the Jcomou. The interpreter
could not very well explain what that meant, but
spoke of sorceries and fetes and " beasts of MalinkeV
Lieutenant Valliere, impatient at the delay, pushed
on, convinced that there was nothing to fear — Sori, the
tirailleurs, and the muleteers alone following. The
guide and the caravan remained where they were,
overcome by terror.
As the lieutenant and his followers drew near Sibi,
the cries became more distinct. The voices of both
young and old people were heard mingling in a
sort of wailing, plaintive as the mountain echoes
dying away in space. At length, after turning a
small clump of trees, Valliere encountered a young
Mandingue carrying a calabash containing meal and a
chicken. The boy uttered a prolonged cry, and run-
ning up to the strangers, made strenuous gestures with
the object of arresting their further progress. But
the sun was beating down on the heads of the trav-
ellers, and a broad-shadowed bread-fruit tree at the
gate of the village invited rest. No power on earth
could have prevented the leader at that moment from
seeking the protection of its leafy boughs.
The cause of the commotion was the komou, a re-
ligious festival which precedes the sowing of the seed.
CAPTAIN GALLIENVS EXPEDITION. 241
The Mandingues, like all the Bambarras of the
Upper Niger, are given over to fetich-worship.
Each village has its sacred grove, impenetrable except
by a path barred with thorny branches. Here, in the
mysterious shade, is held the terrible rite which is
the master of the destiny of the village and its
inhabitants. The village attempts no enterprise of
any hazard without consulting the wishes of the
fetich. If the people are about to make war, a kid
is sacrificed, its blood is sprinkled on the sacred stones,
and by certain signs the sacrificing priest interprets
the decisions of the fetich. Then the warriors march
to battle with confidence.
In the same way, at the approach of seed-time they
sacrifice to the god in order to obtain a good sprouting
of the grain ; then comes the fete, which is to insure
a good harvest ; and lastly, when the granaries are fall,
another visit to the sacred wood is made, to get the
assurance that no enemy will have part or lot in the
harvests of the year. The influence of this super-
stition makes itself felt throughout the whole social
life of the people ; and the young woman who desires
a prosperous marriage offers her sacrifice of eggs, or a
measure of meal, or any other gift which she thinks
will be agreeable to the great dispenser of all gifts.
It is only the male population who have the right
of approaching the sacred grove, and since early
morning on the day when Lieutenant Valliere arrived
242 CAPTAIN OALLIENI'S EXPEDITION.
at Sibi, they had been rending the air with their cries,
with the object of drawing down the fetich into the
It will readily be understood how the arrival of
the strangers interrupted this solemn festival; but the
old man made a path for the white leader. " Under-
stand," exclaimed one, " that this white man is the
first who has visited our country ; and remark, too, that
he has come, not upon an ordinary day, but in the
very midst of the komou. Is not the intention of
the fetich evident ? " And thus the situation of the
strangers, so menacing in the morning, became more
With the object of propitiating the notables of
the village, Lieutenant Valliere prepared a box of
yellow cloths, which excited universal admiration ;
probably no such fine stuffs had ever been seen in
Sibi. The old chief remarked, that the good omen of
the white man's arrival at this particular season was
already beginning to bear fruits, and that the present
komou would be the most memorable in his reign.
The fete was completely absorbing the whole pop-
ulation, and Lieutenant Valliere was able to note its
curious details. Towards noon the cries had ceased,
and every man, still carrying his calabash of millet
and chicken, was directing his steps towards the
sacred wood. There the groups formed themselves in
silence, and at a given signal all at once raised a
CAPTAIN GALLIENI'S EXPEDITION. 243
great shout. Then the old priests entered the
thicket and began the sacrifice. It was not possible
for the spectators to witness the vast hecatombs of
chickens which then took place within the wood.
Both old and young men, in a sort of wild delirium,
then began a strange and excited dance, every one
striving to twist and contort himself as much as possible.
The dance continued during the whole time the sac-
rifices within the wood were going on. There was no
pause, no intermission ; many dropped down breathless
on the ground. At last the priests, the holocaust
finished, emerged from the wood. Then there was a
sort of assembly held, at the conclusion of which all
returned to the village with their empty calabashes.
Presently everybody returned, carrying dry
branches, and walked in a procession along the path
leading to the wood. Arrived there, the crowd
collected before the entrance, and every one began
violently beating the ground, at the same time uttering
loud cries. The object of this last ceremony was, it
appeared, to get the fetich to depart.
For a short space tranquillity succeeded these
noisy manifestations ; but the sacred part of the
programme fairly finished, abundant drinking and
feasting followed. The place which the revellers chose
for their merry-making was the beautiful tree under
which Lieutenant Valliere and his little band were
encamped. The Lieutenant deemed it prudent to seek
244 CAPTAIN GALLIENI'S EXPEDITION.
the intervention o£ the chief, who presently appeared,
very much the worse for his deep potations, and
stammered out a speech which in no wise tended to
silence the uproar going on around. A sort of fury
began to take possession of the crowd, and a general
riot seemed imminent.
The tipsy old chief began to weep, at which several
of his subjects strove to console and sustain him. The
scene became more and more tumultuous, and at last
Lieutenant Valliere was obliged to draw his revolver
and threaten the crowd. But by-and-by the groups
began to disperse themselves over the plain and give
themselves up to their various diversions.
On the following morning the travellers resumed
the march without much regret, and arrived next at
Nafadie', the chief of which came to meet them — an
immense man with a great jolly face. He entertained
the white man hospitably, and provided a sheep for
his followers. Nafadie is a village with a population
of about seven hundred.
One of the villagers told Lieutenant Valliere that
he had seen a white man, and the leader did not doubt
but that it was one of the officers of the expedition.
He asked the man to describe Bammakou, and he
replied, as others had done, that it was a beautiful
village, whose leading men were very wealthy. This
was a pleasant prospect after the desert and the miser-
able villages of Manding.
CAPTAIN GALLIENI'S EXPEDITION. 245
Lieutenant Valliere's further journey was undis-
turbed and uneventful. He quitted Nafadie' after
making liberal presents to the chief, who received
them with every manifestation of delight, while the
women prostrated themselves on the ground in token
Between Nafadie' and Bammakou the road skirts the
mountains of Manding, and the Niger. The path is
well defined and easy. No obstacles were encountered,
except five small streams, which were easily crossed.
The last of these — the Balanke — passed, the travellers
journeyed on with the joy of men whose labours and
fatigues were over and who were about to rejoin their
friends. On the following day Bammakou was reached.
Here a considerable disappointment awaited the leader.
After all the flattering accounts of Bammakou which
he had received from time to time from natives, he
expected to find a large town, an important commercial
centre. The neighbourhood of an African market is
usually a bustling and animated scene enough ; the
approaches are full of traders going and coming. But
here there was nothing of all this — nothing but the
profoundest solitude. Lieutenant Valliere was told that
this state of things was due to wars with the Tou-
couleurs ; but this did not seem altogether to explain
the almost absolute want of life in the place.
But another question soon absorbed Lieutenant
Valliere. Where was the mission ? With its numerous
246 CAPTAIN GALLIENI'S EXPEDITION.
following, it would have been certain to give life to the
neighbourhood. The lieutenant's surprise gave place
to apprehension. Putting his horse to the gallop he
approached the gate of the village ; but there he was
stopped by a native, who motioned to him mysteriously.
This reception increased his anxiety ; but he was
presently reassured by the sight of Lieutenant Pietri.
In a few words he was made aware of the situation.
Bammakou was now nothing more than a big village,
ruined by war, and without commercial importance.
As to Captain Gallieni and his followers, they were
still to arrive, and Pietri had had no communication
with them for many days. Rumours of the intended
attack upon the mission had arrived, however ; and as
no word of their comrades reached Valliere and Pietri
during the evening, they were filled with anxiety.
Their anxious forebodings were sufficiently realized,
for next day they were to learn the misfortune
which had overtaken and all but annihilated the
We now take up again Captain Gallieni's narrative
at the point at which we left it — the arrival of the
expedition at Bammakou, and the reunion with
Lieutenant Valliere. The chief of Bammakou received
the mission hospitably, Valliere having prepared the
way. The caravan was in a most deplorable con-
dition, destitute of provisions, of medicines, and of
presents for the tribes. The men were wounded, sick,
CAPTAIN OALLIENI'S EXPEDITION. 247
and weary ; arms had been lost and ammunition ex-
hausted. With very anxious hearts the reunited
leaders took counsel together, when Captain Gallieni
proposed to push on the march in the face of every-
thing. Officers and men alike supported the leader
in his resolution, and it was determined to continue
But it had become a pressing need that despatches
should be sent to St. Louis. Dr. Bayol, whose special
duties in connection with the expedition might now
be considered over, offered to make the journey back
to St. Louis alone, with Sori, the interpreter, as a
guide. The doctor took with him a full and exact
written account of the attack upon the mission at
Dio and all that followed thereupon, which he was to
deliver into the hands of the governor. He was then
to send on as rapidly as possible a supply of medicines
for the caravan, whose stock was now reduced to thirty
grains of quinine, and the winter season already close
Captain Gallieni also sent back the ass-drivers, who
were of no further service, and who simply terrified
by their uncouth and miserable appearance the tribes
through which the caravan passed. It was with
regret that the leader took this step, for the poor
fellows had shown themselves faithful and even
devoted in his service. They were liberally recom-
pensed for their labours and fatigues, and commended
248 CAPTAIN GALLIENI'S EXPEDITION.
to the attention of the governor of St. Louis in a
letter to be delivered by Dr. Bayol.
The expedition resumed the march, and on the 15th
of May reached the village of Joliba — Dr. Bayol
meanwhile taking the route to Kita, the party of ass-
drivers in his wake. Pietri and Alassane preceded
the caravan to the banks of the river in order to make
preparations for the crossing. An hour's march across
a wide grassy plain brought the explorers to the banks
of the great river of Soudan. It was with feelings of
emotion that Captain Gallieni and his comrades gazed
upon the mighty water-course. The banks were of
no great height, but the river rolled between them, its
immense volume of water and numerous islands dotting
its surface giving to it a picturesque and imposing
appearance. The travellers crossed the ford in canoes,
small, leaky craft, that took in water at all sides.
The horses and mules, held by the spahis who were
seated in the canoes, crossed by swimming.
By five o'clock men and animals were on the other
side of the Joliba, where the mission was favourably
received by a party of Toucouleurs, one of whom, a
man with an intelligent face, advanced towards the
leader, and having made the customary salaam, spoke
thus : —
" The country is yours, and you are at home, since
you come as ambassadors to the sultan of Segou.
We know the powerful chief who has sent you, and
CAPTAIN QALLIENI'S EXPEDITION. 249
my master, who rules over this village in the name of
Amadou, will be happy to receive you. He sends me
to you to say, ' Bismillah ! ' You have left your
native land and encountered many toils ; but now all
that is over. You are at home. ' Bismillah ! bis-
millah ! ' "
These were agreeable words to listen to after the
brutal reception of the expedition at the hands of the
Bambarras of Bele'dougou. The mission quickly ar-
rived at Toniella, and passed through the gates.
Huts were placed at the service of Captain Gallieni
and his followers ; chickens, rice, and butter were pro-
vided for the men, and corn for the horses. The
hearts of the travel-worn white men were filled with
pleasurable emotions by this amicable reception.
The travellers lay down to sleep on their mats in
peace and security ; but, alas ! all the night their
slumbers were broken by the barking of dogs, the
noise of the tom-tom, and the shouting and singing of
tipsy Bambarras, who were speeding the night with
deep potations of dolo.
On the following morning Captain Gallieni took
advantage of the friendly attitude of his hosts to
consult with them about the wounded, who were no
longer able to support the fatigues of the journey.
The people agreed to receive and tend the sick men,
who were to rejoin the caravan when they were again
in a condition to travel. In return for this service
250 CAPTAIN GALLIENI'S EXPEDITION.
the leader left behind him a number of guns to pay
for the board and care of the wounded.
The march now led towards the east, under the con-
duct of a guide. The country traversed was exceed-
ingly fertile, watered by the Niger and its chief
affluents. The land produces abundance of maize,
rice, cotton, tobacco, indigo, and millet, while vast
forests of butter-trees abound — a magnificent territory
awaiting European settlement and improved cultiva-
tion. In addition to its agricultural resources the
district is, moreover, rich in minerals.
The village of Cissina was reached. Shortly after
the arrival of the expedition at this point the white
men witnessed a Bambarra funeral. First came a
score of women weeping violently. Next two griots —
one with a small tom-tom chanted the praises of the
departed. Then came the corpse, carried by six men
in a finely-woven net. Last followed the parents and
friends of the dead man, armed with guns. The
Bambarras always bury their dead close to their
villages, the chiefs being interred in their own huts.
While the earth is being thrown upon the corpse, all
the friends of the dead man make believe of being
buried in the tomb with him.
Tadiana was the next halt, an important Toucou-
leur fort, with a population partly of Bambarras, partly
of Sarracolets. On the night of the 17th of May the
mission reached Diba, where they were met by a party
CAPTAIN GALLIENI'S EXPEDITION. 251
of Bambarras, who examined the strangers closely by
the light of their torches, touching their hands and
faces to assure themselves that they were white men.
On the following day Kobile" was reached — a small
village of some three hundred inhabitants. Here corn
was procured for the horses, and the chief himself
brought a sheep for the strangers, while his brother
offered a chicken, saying : —
" I give you this chicken. Were I rich and power-
ful I should give you a much finer present; but as I am
neither rich nor powerful, I cannot entertain as you
deserve — a people so important as you — and I much
regret the smallness of my gift."
The white men were provided with a good hut, the
walls of which were very curious, being covered with
hieroglyphics, while from the roof were suspended
amulets, castanets, etc. But the most curious object
in the collection was a sword, evidently of European
make, bearing this legend : " Never draw me without
cause : never sheathe me without honour." The
weapon bore the appearance of being of very ancient
On the 19th the expedition crossed the Faya, an
important affluent of the Niger, and arrived at Niague,
a village of some five hundred inhabitants. After
halting at several intermediate stages the travellers
reached Sanankoro. Here they rested the best part
of a day, the leaders passing the time in speculation
252 CAPTAIN GALLIENI' S EXPEDITION.
as to how far they might still be from Segou, which
seemed to get further and further off every day.
Here Amadou at last gave some sign of his existence,
for Alpha came to announce that two men from the
Toucouleur capital had arrived and requested to speak
with Captain Gallieni.
They were introduced, and proved to be two Sofas.
They said that they were come from the sultan to
inform the white leader that he was to remain where
they, the envoys, found him ; in whatever village he
might be, there he was to stay for the meantime.
Captain Gallieni protested energetically against this,
saying that two months had been consumed in the
march ; and was the mission to be detained in a small
village, deprived of all resources, and the winter rains
setting in, blotting out the paths and preventing all
access to the capital ? The two Sofas answered, that
they were simply transmitting the orders of Lam
Dioulbe'. Those orders were clear and formulated :
they, the envoys, were to arrest the mission
wherever they met it. They knew, moreover, that
Sanankoro could not supply sufficient food for the
men and horses of the expedition. The white leaders
should push on to Niansonnah, a richer village, and
there await the answer of the sultan.
Captain Gallieni then told the emissaries that he
had written a letter in Arabic which he wished to
send to Amadou by Lieutenant Pietri, accompanied by
CAPTAIN QALLIENI'S EXPEDITION. 253
the interpreter Alpha Sega. No objection was made
to this, the men answering that Amadou would send
some of his chief men to receive the white man's com-
Sanankoro was left on the 24 th, Niamana was
passed, and the camp pitched at Niansonnah, which
was found to be a far less prosperous place than the
two Sofas had reported. It was with great difficulty
that enough food was obtained to sustain the cara-
van for four days. On the 29 th Captain Gallieni
summoned the two Sofas and informed them that as no
reply had yet come from Amadou, the expedition was
about to quit the village and resume the journey.
Seeing that it would be useless to try to detain the
caravan further, the two men decided to take them-
selves off, satisfied of the consequences that would
ensue from this disobedience of the sultan's orders.
Resuming the march, the expedition reached Dindian,
and Soi'a, and, after traversing a wide plain, Nango.
Here the travellers were met by a party of twelve
horsemen, who escorted them to the village, where
huts had been provided for the accommodation of the
leaders. About mid-day Captain Gallieni sought an
interview with Marico, the chief of the village, who,
after the customary salaam, spoke thus : —
" I was at Segou when Amadou was informed of
your arrival. He at once ordered me to depart in
order to receive you. I was to make you welcome,
254 CAPTAIN GALLIENVS EXPEDITION.
and to provide food for your men and animals. You,
for your part, were to remain here at Nango, to await
the answer of the sultan. Lam Dioulbe knows all
that has happened to you. In regard to the wrong
you have suffered, it is for him to avenge you. You
are the ambassadors of a powerful chief, and you shall
be treated accordingly."
All this was very fine, but it was not exactly the
point. Captain Gallieni tried to make Marico compre-
hend that the mission was at its last extremity, that
men and animals could do no more, and that after all
the expedition had suffered, even such short delays as
this prejudiced the march. Marico replied tranquilly
that he was but transmitting the orders of Amadou,
and that he was about to depart for Segou at moon-
rise, to seek the will of his master.
Marico accordingly departed, and returned in a day
or two. He did not give Captain Gallieni much
satisfaction by the news he brought, for he declared
that Amadou advised the white man to bear in mind,
when he felt impatient, that he was travelling through
a stranger's country, and should therefore submit to
the wishes of the chief of that country, who would
presently send two envoys to treat with the white
On the 5th June these two ambassadors duly made
their appearance. They were Samba N'Diaye, the
chief engineer of the sultan, and Boubakar Saada, a
CAPTAIN GALLIENI' S EXPEDITION. 255
notable of Amadou's court. The two ambassadors
spoke much to the same effect as the Sofa men had
previously done — promises on the part of Amadou
mingled with half -threats. Captain Gallieni resolved
to send back to the sultan, by Samba N'Diaye and
Boubakar, an exact statement of his position and com-
plaints. The envoys returned in a day or two, bring-
ing the same vague words — promises and interdicts
which always composed Amadou's answers, and against
which it was useless and even dangerous on the part
of the white men to do more than remonstrate.
At last Amadou promised to send one of his chief
ministers to make a treaty with the mission; and after
much delay and time wasted, this meeting did at
length take place. On the 13 th of October, Se'idou
Dieylia, Amadou's prime minister, arrived at Nango
with great pomp and a large following. The negotia-
tions lasted for nearly a week, and after interminable
discussion Captain Gallieni obtained from Se'idou a deed
placing the Niger under French protectorate, from its
source as far as Timbuctoo. On the 3rd November
the treaty, drawn up in French and Arabic, was signed
by all the parties concerned, except by Amadou him-
self. Se'idou was to take the document to Segou for
the sultan to sign, and promised Captain Gallieni that
this would be done in the course of a few days.
The few days lengthened themselves out into weeks
and then into months, and still the treaty remained
256 CAPTAIN GALLIENI'S EXPEDITION.
unsigned by the sultan. Every possible pretext
which the wily Mussulman could devise for delay-
ing to append his sign-manual to the document, with-
out which it was valueless, was brought forward.
Those at the court who were wholly unfriendly to the
mission, alleged that its object was not to conclude a
commercial and friendly treaty, but to make plans of
the country, to establish European colonies, and to en-
list the hostile tribes of Bambarras and Malinkes
against the sultan. To these advisers Amadou was
only too ready to listen.
The mission spent weary months at Nango. One
after the other the four white men were attacked by
fever, and lay ill and weak in the midst of a strange
and hostile country. The food that could be obtained
was poor and insufficient ; and over and above these
physical troubles, there was the daily mental anxiety
and worry, the daily deferred hope that Amadou
would keep his word and allow the mission to depart.
The horses died too, and unless Amadou supplied
their places, how should the travellers be able to
accomplish their return journey ?
But at last Amadou, urged by the reiterated demands
of Captain Gallieni, placed his signature to the treaty
and told the mission to prepare for departure. With
indescribable joy the white men began to get every-
thing ready for the return march — to prepare means
of transport, to repair clothes for the journey, and
CAPTAIN GALLIENVS EXPEDITION. 257
re-equip the caravan as speedily and as well as was
possible in the circumstances.
It was not until the 10th of March that Amadou
returned the treaty signed to Captain Gallieni. A
few days after, he sent five good horses, three oxen
for carrying the baggage, and a supply of rice, meal,
salt, and other provisions ; and besides this, a present
of gold, and twenty pieces of cloth of Segou work-
manship. On the arrival of the expedition at St.
Louis, the gold was distributed among the interpreters
of the mission. Thus, in a measure, Amadou made
up for the delay, anxiety, sickness, and general
wretchedness which he had for many months caused
the mission to suffer.
On the 21st March 1881, Nango opened its gates
to allow the expedition to depart. The poor people
of the village had done their best to treat the white
men kindly, and the whole population followed them
outside the gates, crying, " Bonjour, Toubab! Bonjour,
Toubab ! " Captain Gallieni and his companions did
not depart without leaving behind them many little
souvenirs among the simple village people.
The return journey led along the Niger, the route
followed being very much the same as the previous
one. Kantara, one of Amadou's chief agents, was
charged with the convoy of the expedition as far as
On the 22 nd March the village of Sougoulani
258 CAPTAIN GALLIENI'S EXPEDITION.
was reached. Here the travellers were the witnesses
of a dreadful spectacle. Amadou, with the character-
istic cruelty of the Mussulmans, had ordered a number
of prisoners of war to be put to death, with the
object of inspiring terror among the neighbouring
tribes ; and now Captain Gallieni and his comrades
beheld the bodies of these victims heaped up in the
village market-place, the prey of hyenas and birds
— a veritable human shambles. An entire caravan,
consisting of sixteen persons, of all ages and both
sexes, had been captured by Amadou's emissaries and
pitilessly put to death. As the white men rode past
this sad and horrible spectacle, they could not but
reflect on the danger to which they had been exposed
at Nango, living so long at the mercy of the fickle
and sombre tyrant of Segou.
On the 27th the journey proved full of difficulties,
the passage of the little river Faya alone delaying
the caravan an hour. The river was fringed with
beautiful fig-trees, whose branches projected far over
the water. Some of the men entered the stream to
help in getting the animals and baggage across.
Others scrambled across along the stems and branches
of the trees, some of which extended right across the
river. The leaders adopted this method of crossing,
and the party swarming along the boughs from bank
to bank looked ludicrously like a troop of monkeys.
On the 28 th Tadiana was reached, and a halt of
CAPTAIN G ALLIEN VS EXPEDITION. 259
an hour made. The chief, Daba, confirmed the news,
which had already reached the leaders of the expedi-
tion, of the arrival of a French force at Kita. Daba
spoke of the astonishing effect which this event had
produced upon the surrounding tribes, the turbulent
Talibe's being struck dumb with amazement.
The march was resumed across a plain very much
cut up by the rains, and the bivouac was made at
Cissina, in a splendid hut formed of bamboos and
the stalks of the millet. Here an agreeable day was
spent by the travellers, who awaited the morrow in
the pleasant anticipation of reaching the other bank
of the Niger. The hut was visited by crowds of the
natives, curious to see the white men, who, they
believed, had been abandoned to death by the tyrant
sultan, but whom the latest reports had surrounded
Tourella was reached on the 29 th March. Here
Captain Gallieni parted with his remaining stock of
cowries to the chief, Kantara. Valliere proceeded in
advance, to announce the arrival of the party at
Nagadie. Kantara gave the leaders a number of
particulars in regard to the eventful battle at Dio,
from which it appeared that the Bambarras had suf-
fered severely. They had, in a word, reaped the just
reward of their treachery and ingratitude ; and the
result of the conflict, severely as the mission itself had
suffered, had inspired the attackers with a wholesome
260 CAPTAIN GALLIENI'S EXPEDITION.
dread of the white men. Towards noon of the same
day the caravan reached the banks of the river,
where canoes were in readiness for the passage across.
The party embarked in the midst of a great crowd of
negroes, gathered from all the surrounding villages.
Some natives, who had accompanied the white men
from Segou, were concealed among Captain Gallieni's
own followers, with the design of crossing to the
right bank of the Niger. These endeavoured to
embark in the canoes ; but the watchful Kantara was
on the outlook for all such. Among these poor
people was one old Ouoloff woman who had lost her
husband in one of the raids of Amadou, and who
now wished to rejoin her husband. The white men
interceded in her case, but Kantara was inflexible.
It was as much as his life was worth to listen to her
entreaties, and it was in vain that the poor old
creature rent the air with her cries, offering to serve
as a slave to the white men if she might only go with
In the space of two hours the whole caravan were
on the opposite bank of the Niger. It was a curious
sio-ht to see the men, both Toucouleurs and Bambarras,
uniting to take a firm resolution that this was the
last time they should ever accept hospitality from
Amadou. Previously these poor people had had a
great belief and confidence in the generosity, the
magnificence, and the omnipotence of the son of El
CAPTAIN G ALLIEN VS EXPEDITION. 261
Hadj. But their six months' sojourn at Nango, with
its unceasing anxieties of every sort, had quite dis-
illusioned them on this score, and proved to them
beyond all doubt how wretched the life of Amadou's
subjects was compared with that of the tribes along
the Senegal placed under the French protectorate.
The march was resumed in the direction of Nafadie,
across an extensive grassy plain. As the caravan
approached the village of Joliba, a crowd of people
was perceived in the distance gathered under some
bread-fruit trees. Captain Gallieni's anxiety was
raised to behold Lieutenant Valliere stretched motion-
less on the ground at the foot of a tree, with two or
three natives beside him endeavouring by means of
vigorous friction to revive him. In a few minutes
more, Gallieni, Pietri, and Tautain were at the side of
their comrade, who presently opened his eyes. The
doctor then examined him, and, to the great relief of
all, discovered that he was not hurt in any way.
Valliere thus narrated the cause of his present
situation : — After quitting Joliba in the morning, he
was deserted by his guides, and left to his own
resources. He chose a path which, as he thought, led
to Nafadie', but which in reality led to the mountains.
After many turnings and detours, he at length came
upon a village situated in a narrow and rugged gorge.
It appeared that that same morning a party of
Toucouleur horsemen had made a raid upon this
262 CAPTAIN GALLIENVS EXPEDITION.
village, and carried off a number of young girls who
were watching the flocks. The inhabitants mistook
Valliere and his companions for a part of these rob-
bers, and forthwith attacked him. Some of the tirail-
leurs who accompanied him were made prisoners, and
one was seriously wounded. Valliere himself escaped
the bullets of his pursuers, which whistled about his
ears, and reached Joliba again half dead with hunger
and fatigue. Before the day ended, however, the
lieutenant had recovered, and was able to resume the
The people of Nafadie* gave the mission a hospi-
table reception, providing mutton, rice, and couscous in
abundance. Gallieni took advantage of the friendly
attitude of the inhabitants to demonstrate to them
the pacific intentions of the whites, and how necessary
it was that the chiefs of Nafadie should unite against
Amadou, whose troopers were constantly carrying off
their women and harrying their flocks. The reply
of the chiefs was unanimous. They were perfectly
willing to place themselves under the French pro-
tectorate, and to break through the intolerable domi-
nation of the Toucouleurs. Captain Gallieni then
unfolded to them the plan of the treaty, and the
notables of the village forthwith affixed their signa-
tures to the document.
On the 30th of March, the caravan took the road
for Tabou, halting at Kamalia, Sibi, and Nienkema,
CAPTAIN G ALLIEN VS EXPEDITION. 263
in order that the signatures of the chiefs of these
villages might be obtained to the treaty. Captain
Gallieni's task was now a light one, Amadou being
cordially detested throughout all this region. The
tribes appeared perfectly satisfied to see the whites
established at Makadiambougou. A day was spent at
Tabou, where the inhabitants, notwithstanding their
simple savagedom, offered the mission every hos-
pitality, providing corn, water, wood, etc. This vil-
lage absolutely hangs, as it were, on the flank of the
mountain, guarded by huge blocks of stone, a natural
protection against the raids of Toucouleur troopers.
On the 31st, Narena was reached, a large Malinke
village, whose chief received the white men court-
eously, though he had treated Valliere in a consider-
ably more rough and ready fashion some months
previously. An ox was presented to the leaders, and
the people disputed among themselves as to who
should entertain the men of the expedition. The
treaty was signed with enthusiasm, and Captain Gal-
lieni now felt sure that Sultan Amadou might regard
as lost all the provinces in the valley of the Bakhoy.
At Narena, Captain Gallieni received precise news
as to what had been occurring at Kita. Two mes-
sengers arrived from Lieutenant - Colonel Borgnis-
Desbordes, whose anxiety had been great on account
of the mission, the arrival of which he waited for
264 CAPTAIN GALLIENI' S EXPEDITION.
Nardna was quitted next day, and a short halt
made at Koremakhava, whose chief joined the alliance.
Niagassola was reached on April 2nd, whence Captain
Gallieni despatched a letter to Kita to announce his
arrival. A parley was held with the chief of the
ancient village of Bangassi, which the expedition had
found deserted and in ruins a year before, and whose
inhabitants were for the most part refugees from
Niagassola and the neighbourhood. Captain Gallieni
spoke of the era of peace and prosperity which
awaited all the tribes of this region upon the settle-
ment of the whites at Kita, and engaged to repeople
the village of Bangassi.
After leaving Niagassola, Captain Gallieni presented
the treaty for signature to the chief, Mambi, who
showed himself very anxious that his village should
be chosen as the site of the French colony that was
to be established between Kita and the Niger.
The 3rd of April was passed at the little village of
Koukouroni, whose chief, a handsome old man of
somewhat sad bearing, apologized for not being able
to welcome the mission in a more hospitable fashion.
The Toucouleurs had robbed him of everything. The
white leader endeavoured to reassure and console the
old chief, and presented him with a small sum of
On the following day the caravan rested at Mour-
goula, where the white men were received with much
CAPTAIN G ALLIEN J' S EXPEDITION. 265
ceremony. Towards mid-day Captain Gallieni received
a letter from Lieutenant-Colonel Borgnis-Desbordes,
which conveyed a gracious welcome, and expressed
with what impatience the arrival of the mission at
Kita was looked forward to. Mourgoula was quitted
in the evening, and the night passed at Sitakoto. At
Goubanko the travellers were received by MM. de
Gasquet and Morlot, whom the governor of the colony
had sent to meet them.
A great change had passed over the country since
the setting out of the expedition a year back. The
French flag now floated on the fort that had been
raised near Makadiambougou, and the French influence
extended over a wide area of the Niger basin.
The envoy of the Sultan Amadou was unable to
conceal his surprise at finding the white men so firmly
established within so short a distance of Mourgoula,
one of his own possessions.
On the 16th of April the expedition arrived at the
confluence of the Bafing and the Bakhoy, where, on
the right bank of the former river, a military post was
On the 23 rd, Bakel was reached. Here boats
were procured to transport the members of the expe-
dition as far as Podor. On the 27th the mission
found itself in an enemy's country. The river-side
natives showed themselves exceedingly hostile, at-
tempting to arrest the passage of the boats down the
266 CAPTAIN GALLIENI 'S EXPEDITION.
river. The leaders of the expedition were obliged to
have recourse to their fire-arms before their assailants
were driven back.
On the 6th of May, Salde* was reached, and the
expedition was now well beyond hostile ground. A
steamboat, the Archimedes, took on board Captain
Gallieni and his companions, who reached St. Louis
on the 12th May, and were welcomed by their friends
there with many warm congratulations on their safe
The geographical results of Captain Gallieni's voy-
age were important, and the leader received, in recog-
nition of his services, the medal of the Geographical
Society of Paris, the gold medal of the Society of
Bordeaux, and a diploma of honour from the French
Geographical Congress of 1882.
DR. BARTH'S TRAVELS.
In the year 1849 the British Government resolved to
despatch an expedition to Central Africa, partly to
explore the country, and partly to establish friendly
relations with the chiefs and rulers of the various
territories in the far interior. The command of the
expedition was intrusted to Mr. Richardson, who had
already distinguished himself in African travel. He
was joined by Dr. Barth and Dr. Overweg, two German
gentlemen who volunteered their services, on the Gov-
ernment expressing a wish that two foreigners should
accompany the party. Dr. Barth was a professor in
Germany who had attracted the notice of Lord Palmer-
ston by his success in exploring the northern shores
of Africa ; while Dr. Overweg was a brave and ener-
getic young fellow, thirty years of age.
The travellers started from Tripoli on the 29th
March 1850. The journey was one of special interest,
and there was a large gathering of friends to bid Mr.
Richardson and his companions "God speed." Although
268 DR. BARTH'S TRAVELS.
the discoveries of previous travellers had shorn the
adventure of much of its danger and mystery, sufficient
peril remained to make parting friends feel that they
might be looking on one another's faces for the last
time. Such forebodings were sadly fulfilled, for before
the small company reached Kukawa, its leader, Mr.
Richardson, fell ill and died. Dr. Barth, who was
appointed to the command, and Dr. Overweg then
separated for a time, exploring in different directions.
When Barth returned to Kukawa, he found his friend
ill and exhausted. Within a week, Overweg too was
gone, and Barth was left to explore alone the almost
unknown regions of West Central Africa — to pene-
trate, if possible, the country as far as Timbuctoo, enter
into treaty with the Sultan of Sokoto, and procure
admission for European trade to this part of the Dark
Continent. Some idea of the measure of success which
he achieved may be gathered from the brief analysis
of Barth's large volumes contained in the following
On the death of his fellow-traveller, Mr. Overweg,
Dr. Barth gave up his original plan of again trying
his fortune in Kanem and on the north-east shores of
the Tchad, and resolved to turn westwards and explore
the countries on the middle course of the great river
of the west, the I'sa or so-called Niger. He fixed upon
Say, a town on the Niger somewhat south-east of
Timbuctoo, as his first halting-place ; but the main
DR. BARTH'S TRAVELS. 269
object of the expedition was to reach the town of
Timbuctoo itself, a place attractive from the mystery
by which it was surrounded.
It was on the 26th of November 1852 that Dr.
Barth set out from Kukawa, which had been his head-
quarters for more than twenty months. His little com-
pany consisted of an Arab sherif from Fez, who was
going as far as Zinder, an interpreter from Jalo, five
Mussulman freemen, and two liberated slaves, Dyrregu,
a Houssa boy, and Abbega, a Marghi lad. Of Abbega
Dr. Barth remarks : " He not unfrequently found some
other object more interesting than my camels, which
were intrusted to his care, and which in consequence
he lost repeatedly."
The travellers had set out in the cool season of the
African year, when, even in tropical Africa, in parts
remote from the sea, that great equalizer of tempera-
ture, the nights are often positively cold. So to the
delight of the travellers in once more finding them-
selves in the open country was added the enjoyment
of a pleasant change of temperature, and also of scenery,
as they exchanged the bleak and dreary hollows that
lie between Kano and Kukawa for rich fields waving
with corn and fine crops of marakuwa and stubble-
fields of small millet. These pleasant changes, and
the prospect of further novelty in the unknown regions
of the far west, kept the travellers in the best of
270 DR. BABTH'S TRAVELS.
By the 1st of December, Dr. Barth reached the
Komadugu, the river-valley of Bornou. Eecent rains
had made the passage of this swampy network of
channels and thick forests a most difficult task ; but
the travellers were encouraged by the sight of fine
groups of trees and droves of guinea-fowl which now
varied the scene. After visiting the site of Ghasr-
eggomo, the old capital of Bornou, the travellers had
to make a roundabout journey to reach the village of
Ze'ngiri, where the river could be most easily forded.
Having crossed the river, they entered the province
of Manga, where some of the thievish natives robbed
the Arab merchant in the most daring manner of his
woollen blanket, dragging the poor fellow along in it
until they forced him to let go. Passing through
the walled town of Gesma, and places with such
pleasant names as the " Queen of the Kegion of the
Dum Palm," and the " Sweetness of the World," they
soon found themselves in the hilly district of Muniyo.
There they were joined by parties of native traders,
bearing their wares on their heads, as the British pedlar
carries his on his back. The wooded hills, the many
salt and fresh water lakes, the towns and villages,
and cultivated land and pleasant pastures, with their
herds of camels, horses, goats, sheep, and cattle, made
the passage through Muniyo a very pleasant part of
the journey. At one of the towns where they stopped
to water the animals the wells were ten fathoms
DR. BARTH' S TRAVELS. 271
deep ; and crowds of boys and girls were busy draw-
ing water from two other larger wells on the north
side of the place. The path was also frequented by
numbers of people who were carrying the harvest into
the town in nets made from the leaves of the dum
palm, and borne on the backs of oxen.
While passing through Muniyo, Dr. Barth, with two
of his companions, visited a natron lake situated at the
foot of a hill near a village called Magajiri. Dr. Barth
writes : " When we had passed this village, which was
full of natron (carbonate of soda), stored up partly in
large piles into ' takrufa ' or matting coverings, we ob-
tained a view of the natron lake lying before us in the
hollow at the foot of the rocky eminence, with its snow-
white surface girt all round by a green border of luxu-
riant vegetation. This border of vegetation was formed
by well-kept cotton grounds, which were just in flower,
and by kitchen gardens, where deraba was grown, the
cultivated ground being broken by dum bush and
rank grass. Crossing this verdant and fertile strip,
we reached the real natron lake, where we hesitated
some time whether or not we should venture upon its
surface ; for the crust of natron was scarcely an inch
thick, the whole of the ground underneath consisting
of black boggy soil, from which the substance separates
continually afresh." At the end of the rainy season the
natron is obtained in larger pieces than at other times.
"A large provision of natron, consisting of from twenty
272 DR. BARTH'S TRAVELS.
to twenty-five piles about ten yards in diameter and
four in height, protected by a layer of reeds, was stored
up at the northern end of the lake. The whole cir-
cumference of the basin was one mile and a half."
On Christmas day 1852, the travellers reached
Zinder, a busy trading mart (Dr. Barth calls it " the
gate of Soudan "), where they were to wait for new
supplies. When these arrived, on the 20th of January,
part of them was used to purchase from the natives
such wares as red bernouses, turbans, looking-glasses,
razors, chaplets, and gloves. Further on, at Katsena,
other purchases were made of cotton and silk goods
made at Kano (the " Manchester of Africa ") and Ntipe,
also of leather water-skins for covering luggage; "for,"
says Dr. Barth, " no place in the whole of Negroland is
so famous for excellent leather and the art of tanning
as Katsena : and if I had taken a larger supply of
these articles with me, it would have been very pro-
fitable ; but of course these leather articles require a
great deal of room." Among other purchases were
two hundred and thirty-two black shawls for covering
the face (these are the best presents for the Tawarek),
seventy -five turkedis, and some of the tobacco of
Katsena, which is held in great estimation even in
Timbuctoo. So provided, Dr. Barth knew he could
pass safely through the countries on the middle course
of the Niger, for these native manufactures are there
everywhere a ready passport.
DR. BAETH'S TRAVELS. 273
Leaving K&tsena, the travellers had to make a wide
circuit on account of a hostile army known to be on
the road. By keeping a good look-out, however, by
marching at night, and sometimes by showing a bold
front, or diving into the forests, they arrived, some-
what alarmed but uninjured, at Sokoto, the capital of
the Fulbe or Fellani, the most intelligent of all the
African tribes. Though a small town, Sokoto can
boast some five thousand inhabitants. It is a place
of resort for numbers of the gray species of monkey.
While there, Dr. Barth visited the house in which
the traveller Clapperton died, and obtained some in-
teresting information about the unfortunate captain's
death. The market at Sokoto is thus described : —
" Even in the present reduced condition of the place,
the market still presented a very interesting sight, the
numerous groups of people, buyers as well as sellers,
and the animals of various descriptions, being pictur-
esquely scattered over the rocky slope. The market
was tolerably well attended and well supplied, there
being about thirty horses, three hundred head of cattle
for slaughter, fifty oxen of burden, and a great quantity
of leather articles, especially leather bags, cushions,
and similar articles, the leather dressed and prepared
here being very soft and beautiful. A good many
slaves were exhibited, and fetched a higher price than
might be supposed — a lad of very indifferent appear-
ance being sold for thirty-three thousand shells. I
274 DR. BARTH'S TRAVELS.
myself bought a pony for thirty thousand shells. It
being just about the time when the salt caravan visits
these parts, dates also, which usually form a small
addition to the principal merchandise of those traders
of the desert, were to be had ; and I filled a leather
bag for some two thousand shells, in order to give a
little more variety to my food on the long road which
lay before me."
Much rice is grown near Sokoto, one whole valley
forming an uninterrupted rice-field.
From Sokoto, the way of our travellers led to almost
unknown regions, hitherto untrodden by European
foot. As usual, the road lay through densely-peopled
districts, where yams and corn-fields flourished. On
some occasions Dr. Barth seems to have found the
presents with which he had provided himself extremely
useful. Such was the case with the sultan Aliyu,
whom Dr. Barth visited to compliment the chief on
his return from subduing some wretched little hamlets.
" Although," he says, " I had made the chief a very
respectable present on my first arrival, I thought it
well to give greater impulse to his friendly disposition
towards me by adding something also this time, pre-
senting him with a cloth waistcoat and several smaller
articles, besides a musical box, with the performance
of which he was extremely pleased. But unfortunately
when, anxious to impart his delight to his greatest
friend and principal minister, he had called the latter
DB. BABTH'S TBAVELS. 277
to witness this wonder, the mysterious box, affected
by the change of climate and the jolting of the long
journey, was silent for a moment, and would not play.
I may observe here that I think it better for travellers
not to make such presents as musical boxes, which so
easily get out of order.
" Having made a present to the ghaladima also, I
thought it better, in order to make up for the deficiency
of the musical box, to satisfy the musical taste of the
sultan by making him a present of one of the harmonica
which the Chevalier Bunsen (in consideration of the
great effect which a missionary had produced with the
aid of such an instrument on the inhabitants of the
shores of the Nile) had procured for me ; but I suc-
ceeded afterwards in repairing, in some measure, the
musical box, which caused the good-natured chief in-
expressible delight, so that he lost no time in writing
for me a commendatory letter to his nephew, Khalilu,
the chief of Gandu."
Passing through country which became more and
more unsafe, Dr. Barth arrived at Gandu on the 17th
of May. The Fulbe prince, Khalilu, was well known
for his intense dislike to Europeans and all Christians.
An Arab who had gained influence at the sultan's
court, however, managed a peaceful arrangement be-
tween the traveller and the chieftain, and no doubt
the letter from the gratified owner of the musical box
was not without effect ; but it was only after some
278 DR. BARTH'S TRAVELS.
trouble and delay, and the sacrifice of many of his
stores, that Dr. Barth was allowed, on the 4 th of
June, to proceed on his journey, which now promised
to become of overwhelming interest as they neared
the great African river, the object of their ambition.
The interest grew daily greater, though, owing to
the heavy rains of that time of the year, their progress
was but slow, and, owing to the unsafe state of the
country, somewhat dangerous. One town had just
been destroyed by the enemy, and all the inhabitants
carried into slavery. " The aspect of the place was
doleful and melancholy in the extreme, corresponding-
well with the dangerous situation in which we found
ourselves ; and whilst traversing the half -ruined vil-
lage, which from a bustling little place had become
the abode of death, I almost involuntarily snatched
my gun and held it steadily in my hand. But life
and death in these regions are closely allied ; and we
had scarcely left the ruined village behind us, when
we were greeted by a most luxuriant rice-field, where
the crops were already almost three feet high, and
girt by the finest border of a nice variety of shady
trees, overtopped by a number of tall deleb palms, the
golden fruit of which, half ripe, was starting forth
from under the feathery foliage. But our attention
was soon diverted from the enjoyment of this scenery
to a point of greater interest to ourselves. We here
observed a solitary individual, in spite of the unsafe
DR. BABTH'S TRAVELS. 279
state of the country, sitting quietly at the foot of one
of the palm trees, and seemingly enjoying its fruit.
Now, coupling the present state of the country with
the news we had just received, we could not help
greatly suspecting this man to be a spy, posted here
by the enemy in order to give them information of
the passers-by ; and I had the greatest difficulty in
preventing my Arab, who, when there was no dan-
ger for himself, always mustered a great amount
of courage, from shooting this suspicious - looking
Proceeding further through this rich but unsafe
district, the travellers, to their great delight, met a
solitary and courageous pilgrim — a Jolof, from the
shores of the Atlantic — carrying his little luggage on
his head, and seemingly well prepared to defend it
with his double-barrelled gun which he carried on his
shoulder, and a short sword hanging at his side, while
his shirt was tossed gallantly up and tied over his
shoulder behind the neck. " In my joy at the sight
of this enterprising native traveller," says Dr. Barth,
" I could not forbear making him a small present, in
order to assist him in his arduous undertaking."
At the strong walled town of Kola, which com-
mands the whole passage of the great valley of Kebbi,
the company made a short halt to insure peace with
the powerful governor of the place, who was said to
command as many as seventy musketeers. Having
280 DR. BARTH'S TRAVELS.
made him a small present, they were hospitably re-
ceived both by the governor and his sister, the latter
showing her favour by the gift of a goose — a most
welcome present to a European somewhat tired of the
usual African fare.
At the border of the valley were some fine pasture
grounds, where some horses were grazing ; but the
herbage was full of small venomous snakes, which
repeatedly crossed the path of the travellers in large
But soon they left the cultivated grounds and
entered a dense forest, which had a very pleasant
appearance, all the trees being in blossom, and spread-
ing a delightful fragrance around. There, too, they
were agreeably surprised to come upon two extensive
ponds, which supplied them with delicious water
(though on their return journey, in August 1854,
they were equally but disagreeably surprised to find
the water of these same ponds had so changed as to
almost poison the whole company). The travellers
pitched their tent in the midst of the forest, Dr.
Barth greatly enjoying the open encampment again,
after the dirty huts in which he had lately been
obliged to live. However, they had to enjoy this
wild encampment longer than they wished, as one of
the camels was lost in the desert, and must be found
before they could proceed. This experience gained
for Dr. Barth the fame among the people of the
DR. BARTH'S TRAVELS. 281
neighbourhood of being the only man who had spent
a day in the unsafe wilderness.
Pushing on up the fertile though wretched valley
of the Fogha, with its numerous salt-lakes, its fields
of yams and tobacco, and herds of elephants, through
dense forests and fields where fresh crops were just
shooting up, through swampy ground covered with
rank grass, Dr. Barth and his companions reached
Songhay, a farming village, full of corn-stacks, and
inhabited by serfs. All the huts in these Songhay
villages consist merely of reeds ; and while they are
less solid than the clay dwellings of the Kebbi, they
are better ventilated and have a less offensive smell.
Here they found a jovial old farmer, who not only
supplied the travellers with milk and corn, but even
made Dr. Barth the present of a sheep.
A period of great drought now set in, and owing
to the heat and the weak condition of his camels, Dr.
Barth had to be content with short marches through
parched and uncultivated ground, then for a short
distance through country partly laid out in fields,
partly covered with underwood, until at length they
reached a village where they could quarter, though
not until they had used force to obtain a hut for
their use — the head man of the village being too lazy,
or too obstinate, to leave his cool shed in the heat of
"We were now," Dr. Barth writes, "close to the
282 DR. BARTH'S TRAVELS.
Niger ; and I was justified in indulging in the hope
that I might the next day behold with my own eyes
that great river of Western Africa, which has caused
such intense curiosity in Europe, and the upper part of
the large eastern branch of which I had myself dis-
These expectations were soon fulfilled, for next day,
Monday, June 20th (our Queen's accession day), Dr.
Barth sighted the Niger.
" Next morning," he writes, " at an early hour, I
set out ; and after a march of a little less than two
hours, through a roeky wilderness covered with dense
bushes, I obtained the first sight of the river ; and in
less than an hour more, during which I was in con-
stant sight of this noble spectacle, I reached the place
of embarkation opposite the town of Say.
" In a noble, unbroken stream, though here, where
it has become contracted, only about seven hundred
yards broad, hemmed in on this side by a rocky bank
of from twenty to thirty feet in elevation, the great
river of Western Africa (whose name under all its
many forms means nothing but ' the river,' and
which therefore may well continue to be called the
Niger) was gliding along in a north-easterly and
south-westerly direction, with a moderate current of
about three miles an hour. On the flatter shore
opposite, a large town was spreading out, the low
ramparts and huts of which were picturesquely over-
DR. BARTH'S TRAVELS. 285
topped by numbers of slender dum palms. This was
the river-town or ' ford/ — the name Say meaning, in
this eastern dialect, 'the river.' The banks at pres-
ent were not high ; but the river, as it rises, ap-
proaches the very border of the rocky slope."
While waiting for the boats which were to carry
them across the river, the travellers had plenty of
leisure for observing the river scenery, and the pas-
sengers crossing in the smaller boats, Fulbe and
Songhay natives, with asses and pack-oxen. At
length the boats, or rather canoes, which were to
carry Dr. Barth's company and their effects across,
made their appearance. " They were of good size,
about forty feet in length, and from four to five feet
in width in the middle, consisting of two trunks of
trees hollowed out and sewn together in the middle.
These boats are chiefly used for carrying corn from
Sinder, a town higher up the river, to Say ; and they
had been expressly sent for by the ' king of the
waters,' as the inspector of the harbour is called.
The largest of them was able to carry three of my
camels ; and the water was kept out much better
than I had ever yet found to be the case with the
native craft of the inhabitants of Negroland.
" My camels, horses, people, and luggage having
crossed over without accident, I myself followed
about one o'clock in the afternoon, filled with delight
when floating on the waters of this celebrated stream,
286 DR. BARTH' S TRAVELS.
the exploration of which had cost the sacrifice of so
many noble lives."
To Dr. Barth the sight of the river was of the
more importance, because he was so soon again to
leave it and proceed by land to Timbuctoo — that
being the only route so far as he then knew ; and he
had only a faint hope of revisiting the river between
Timbuctoo and Say. In doubt of ever being able
to reach the western coast, our traveller thought it
more interesting to survey the course of the Niger
between the point already explored by Mungo Park
and the lower portion known through the accounts
of the Landers, than to cross the whole of Central
Having presented himself at the governor's house,
Dr. Barth soon obtained quarters, though they were
not at all to his taste, being small and narrow. The
town, in its very low position, is not refreshed by a
single current of air, and has a very oppressive atmos-
phere. The huts, too, seemed made rather for women
than for men, the women's apartment occupying the
greater part of each. The bedstead, made of the
branches of trees, was enclosed in a separate chamber
of mats, thus leaving only a very small entrance, and
blocking up the inside of the dwelling. Dr. Barth's
first task was to demolish one of these small matting
bed-rooms in order to obtain some ventilation. At
length, having made himself somewhat comfortable,
DR. BABTH'S TBAVELS. 287
he began to long for some refreshment, having been
exposed to the sun during the hottest part of the day.
The governor, however, sent only stores of rice and
millet, which had to be husked and cooked before the
travellers could satisfy their hunger. The town was
suffering from want of rain, and the air of the valley,
always oppressive, became almost suffocating.
Next morning Dr. Barth rode round the town of
Say, which he describes as of quadrangular shape,
with a low rampart of earth on three of its sides, the
fourth, looking towards the river, being unprotected.
Though pretty large, the town is but thinly inhabited,
the dwellings, all except the governor's, consisting of
matting and reeds, lying scattered about like so many
separate hamlets. It is divided by a wide valley
running from north to south, surrounded by dum
palms, which are almost the only trees either inside or
outside the town. At the end of the rainy season
this valley becomes filled with water, stopping the
business and adding to the unhealthiness of the town.
" There can be no doubt," Dr. Barth thinks, " that in
seasons when the river reaches an unusual height the
whole town is under water, the inhabitants being
obliged to seek safety beyond the borders of the
In the eastern part of the town, not far from the
river, a market is held every day, which, poor as it is,
is of some importance ; and hence the town has a
288 DR. BARTH'S TRAVELS.
great name as a market-place among the inhabitants
of Western Soudan, many of whom here supply their
want of native manufactures, especially of common
clothing for both men and women, as the art of
weaving and dyeing is there greatly neglected, and
very little cotton is grown. But the place was most
miserably supplied with provisions, there being no
store of grain whatever. Everything necessary was
brought day by day from the town called Sinder,
about eighty miles higher up the river. To Dr.
Barth's great surprise, not a grain of rice is grown
here, though the soil, being often under water, is par-
ticularly suited for rice-growing. Everything at Say
was very dear, especially butter, which was scarcely
to be procured at all. The money used in the market
consisted of shells. The high prices depended on the
state of feeling between Say and Hausa, and it so
chanced that at the time of Dr. Barth's visit that was
not of the most peaceful kind.
" For the English, or Europeans in general, Say is,"
writes Dr. Barth, "the most important place in all
this tract of the river, if only they succeed in crossing
the rapids above Rabba, and especially between Busa
and Yauri, and reach this fine open sheet of water,
the great highroad of Western Central Africa."
Being now about to enter a new country, where
the natives spoke a language which none of the com-
pany understood, and not being able to give much
DR. BARTH'S TRAVELS. 289
time to its study, Dr. Barth was very anxious to
obtain the services of a native of the country, or to
liberate a Songhay slave ; but he did not succeed at
the time, and so did not feel so much at home in the
countries through which he now had to pass.
As he left the great river behind, Dr. Barth's
thoughts turned with intense interest to the new and
unexplored region before him. However, on the very
first day of their march (June 24th) the travellers
had a sufficient specimen of what awaited them
during the rainy season. They had scarcely left the
low island behind on which the town of Say, that
hot-bed of fever, is situated, and ascended the steep
rocky bank which borders the west side of the river,
when a dark array of thunder-clouds came, as it were,
marching on them from the south-east, and a terrible
thunderstorm suddenly broke out, beginning with a
most fearful sand- wind, which wrapped the whole
district in the darkness of night, and made progress
for a moment quite impossible. After a while it was
followed by a violent rain, which relieved the sand-
storm, but lasted for nearly three hours, filling the
path with water to the depth of several inches, and
soaking the unfortunate explorers through to the skin,
making the rest of their march very uncomfortable.
They at last found shelter in a farming hamlet, where
the people were busily employed in sowing, the
plentiful rain, which was the first of the season, having
290 DR. BARTH'S TRAVELS.
rendered the fields fit for cultivation. The proprietor,
a cheerful and wealthy old man, lodged the company
comfortably in two round huts near a sheep-pen in front
of his dwelling. While his people were drying them-
selves and their luggage, Dr. Barth roved about a little,
watching the women washing their clothes in pools of
stagnant water and the slaves busy working in the
Their way at first lay through hilly country, some-
times varied by pleasant vales or glens, though in
general they were treeless and thinly inhabited. After
a short march they reached the highest point, from
which they could view an extensive wilderness, with
only a few cultivated spots hidden in the forest.
Passing through some picturesque but not very fertile
regions, they arrived at the town of Champagore, a
town enclosed by hills, and remarkable for its maga-
zines of corn, which consist of towers or square build-
ings, raised a few feet above the ground, in order to
protect them from the ants. They have no opening
at the bottom, but only a kind of window near the
top, through which the corn is taken in and out ; and
on the whole they are not unlike the dove-cots of
Egypt. These magazines, one or two of which are to
be seen in every courtyard, far surpass in their ap-
pearance the dwellings themselves, which are nearly
all low huts, enclosed by a frail fence made of the
stalks of the native corn.
DR. BARTH 'S TRAVELS. 291
Before leaving this place Dr. Barth visited the
chief. The portal of the residence was very stately ;
but the spacious courtyard inside, which was enclosed
by a low clay wall, full of rubbish, and poor, mean-
looking huts, did not correspond with the stately
entrance. However, the dwelling itself, although
simple, was not mean, and, besides two spacious clay
halls, included some very airy and cool corridors built
entirely of wood. Having been first received in one
of the clay halls by the chief, a very pleasant-looking
man of middle height, about seventy years of age, in
a simple light-blue tobe, with a white shawl wound
round his face, Dr. Barth was conducted afterwards to
one of the corridors for a more private audience, and
there delivered his present — a red cap, half a piece of
muslin, and other smaller articles.
This old chief, Galaijo, had received a large though
not very fertile district from the chief of Gandu ; and
so the travellers found here a small court and a people
bearing no resemblance whatever to those around
them, having faithfully preserved the manners and
institutions of their native country. While all the
neighbouring natives are rather a slender race of men,
with fine, sharply-cut features, who make it a rule to
dress in white colours, here were found people quite
the reverse — a set of sturdy men, with round open
countenances, and long black curly hair, all clad alike
in light-blue tobes, and nearly all armed with muskets.
292 DR. BARTH'S TRAVELS.
Three of Galaijo's servants, all armed with muskets,
attached themselves to the company of travellers ; and
in case of any attack on the road, were supplied with
ball cartridges, for the way now lay through an un-
safe wilderness. A few miles from their starting-
point they passed some strange smelting-furnaces,
about six feet high, and measuring a foot and a half
across the base. The native smelting is a very simple
process. On the ironstone is placed a large quantity
of wood-ashes. When the metal begins to melt, it
is received, by three channels at the bottom of the
furnace, into a little trough or basin. Soon after this
they came upon numerous footprints of the elephant,
and traces of the rhinoceros. Monkey-bread trees
were here seen in great abundance.
One day their progress was stopped by the sudden
bend of a river, about seventy yards wide, which they
were to cross merely on bundles of reeds that they
were themselves to tie together. At length, after
much bargaining, some natives agreed to assist the
travellers in crossing. While the large bundles of the
frail ferry were being tied together, the head man of
the village and many of the natives watched the
operation from the high banks. The men formed
interesting groups, with their short shirts and wide
trowsers of light blue, and their short pipes in their
mouths, for they smoked incessantly. Their features,
though effeminate, were full of expression, their hair
DR. BARTH'S TRAVELS. 293
plaited in long tresses and hanging over their cheeks,
sometimes even to their shoulders. The women were
short of stature and unshapely, and had their necks
and ears richly ornamented with strings of beads, but
none of them wore the nose-ring. The men were
clever swimmers, and carried the small luggage across
the river in calabashes ; but it took two hours to con-
vey the whole party and their luggage safely to the
Continuing their march through the forest, they
found numerous footprints of the elephant and the
buffalo, and ere long fell in with a large herd of the
latter cropping the luxuriant grass of the pasture
grounds. In the province of Yagha, through which
they were now passing, they found the natives busily
occupied, some in weaving on sticks hung from the
roof, others in basket-making and leather-work. At
one of these huts Dr. Barth put up for a night, and
writes of it thus : —
" The clay being excellently polished, and the hut
of recent construction, left a very pleasant impression;
but, as is often the case in human life, all this finery
covered nothing but misery, and I discovered the next
day, to my utter amazement, that this beautiful hut
was one entire nest of ants, which had in one day
made great havoc with the whole of my luggage."
As he passed on, more serious dangers threatened
our brave explorer, from the hatred of the natives
294 DR. BARTH 'S TRAVELS.
against all Christians, or, as they called them, infidels,
and their suspicions of Dr. Barth. On one occasion,
indeed, he only narrowly escaped death by adopting
the advice of an Arab, and representing himself as an
officer carrying books to the sheik. The plan suc-
ceeded ; for the large company of furious half -naked
men, brandishing their weapons over their heads in a
most threatening manner, "all of a sudden dropped
their spears and thronged round me," Dr. Barth says,
"requesting me to give them my blessing; and the
circumstances under which I was placed obliged me
to comply with this slight request, although it was by
no means a pleasant matter to lay my hands on all
those dirty heads."
These same people proved in the end most useful.
Having received his blessing, they conducted the
traveller to a place where they declared the water to
be fordable. The ground, however, even here proved
boggy, and the luggage had to be carried across by
the people, the camels nearly sticking in the bog, even
though unloaded ; while Dr. Barth, being persuaded by
the natives that his dignity in presence of the native
travellers absolutely required him to remain on horse-
back, fell under his horse in the middle of the swamp.
His journals got wet through, and they had the
greatest difficulty in extricating the poor horse from
On his passage through the district of Aribinda
DR. BARTH'S TRAVELS. 295
(that is, "the place beyond or south of the water"),
Dr. Barth's luggage suffered somewhat from the many
water-courses which he had to cross, and the greed of
the Arabs. One governor, to whom he had already
made several presents, somewhat astonished our trav-
eller when he was setting out by begging the very
tobe which he then was wearing !
In one village of industrious natives Dr. Barth
found some of his English goods very acceptable,
especially some English darning-needles, which fetched
a very high price, though the small common needles
were regarded with the utmost contempt.
One of the most dangerous stages of the journey
was that which lay through the country of the
Tawarek, for there the crafty Arab companion of Dr.
Barth could take full advantage of the European's
dangerous situation. " On the one hand," says Dr.
Barth, " it had become necessary to represent me to
these simple people as a great sherif, and thus to
excite their hospitable feelings, while at the same time
he instigated me to reward their treatment in a
generous manner, but nevertheless sold my presents
to them as his own property ! It required a great
deal of patience on my part to bear up against the
numerous delays in this part of our journey, and to
endure the many tricks played upon me by the treach-
ery of my companion, in order to prevent at least
his proceeding to open violence."
296 DR. BARTH'S TRAVELS.
At one place, on the departure of Dr. Barth, the
whole population, both men and women, turned out
to receive his blessing. " Among the women," Dr.
Barth writes, " I discovered a few pretty young girls,
especially one whose beauty was enhanced by her
extreme shyness in approaching me ; but their dress
was very poor indeed, consisting of coarse cotton
stuff, which was wrapped round the body and brought
down over the head." All the boys of the same place
under twelve years of age had the left side of their
head entirely shaven, while from the crop on the
right side a long curl hung down.
At another place they had a sign that they were
approaching Timbuctoo, in the anxiety of the people to
taste tea, which they called the water of Simsim,
from the celebrated well of that name in Mecca. At
another encampment farther on, the eagerness of the
women to obtain tobacco was very remarkable, and
they pestered the travellers during great part of the
night by their demands for the luxury.
On the 27th of August the explorers set out on
their last journey by land, in order to reach the place
where they were to embark on the river. At the
town of Sarayamo they found a great many people
collected to receive them ; and after firing a salute
with their pistols, they .obtained, after some search,
quarters large enough to admit the luggage.
No sooner was the explorer settled than he was
DR. BARTH'S TRAVELS. 297
visited by a number of the more important natives,
one of whom thought it strange that the so-called
Syrian chief could not say his prayers with him in
the courtyard. To allay the suspicions as to his re-
ligion, Dr. Barth on one occasion felt himself obliged
to repeat the opening prayer of the Koran, concluding,
to the great amusement and delight of his hearers,
with the Arabic . words meaning, " God may give
water ;" which have become quite a common compli-
mentary phrase — perhaps like our " Good-bye " — few
people thinking of its original meaning. It so hap-
pened that on the following night a heavy thunder-
storm came on, bringing rain. Next day the inhabi-
tants returned to beg a repetition of the stranger's
performance. On the other hand, however, a blessing
administered along with a strong emetic to the
governor, who was setting out for the capital, turned
out less successful ; for though the governor was well
received in the capital, he was greatly shocked to
learn that his blessing was that of a Christian.
At the large island of Kora, where the Futta
branch of the Niger joins the main stream, the trav-
ellers were able to embark again on the Niger. In
the neighbourhood through which they had just
passed, the great river forms such a network of
creeks, backwaters, and channels, as to spread over
the whole country. Dr. Barth had hired a large
boat from Timbuctoo for the exclusive use of his
298 DR. BARTH' S TRAVELS.
party, and great was his satisfaction when, on the 1st
of September, he found himself floating on the back-
water which was to carry him to the harbour of
Timbuctoo. The boats were pushed along by poles,
the water being often blocked by reeds and other
growth, so that they seemed to be sailing over a
grassy plain. The abundant fish kept them well
supplied with fresh food ; and as they proceeded, great
lizards, called zangways, basked at night, while still
further down alligators and hippopotami were seen.
Where the Futta joined the Niger stood a solitary
group of trees, " which appeared," says Barth, " to
form the usual nightly place of resort for all the
water-fowl of the neighbourhood, the trunks as well
as the branches of the trees showing traces of these
At this point they left the shore, and entered the
middle of the magnificent Niger river, called here the
I'sa or Mayo Balleo. At this spot, about a mile
across, the magnitude and solemn magnificence of the
place under the rising moon were enhanced by the sum-
mer-lightning at times breaking through the evening
sky ; and Barth says his servants were inspired with
real awe and almost fright, " while we were squatting
on the shelving roof of our frail boat, and looked
with searching eyes along the immense expanse of the
river in a north-easterly direction, where the object of
our journey was said to lie."
DR. BARTH'S TRAVELS. 299
The excitement of the day, or the previous night's
wetting, brought a severe attack of fever on Barth
when they lay-to at the town of Koiretago ; but in
order to guard his luggage, he refused to go on shore
and sleep on the fine sandy beach, but remained on
board the frail boat.
From this point, Barth followed close upon the
track of the unfortunate traveller Major Laing, who
had been assassinated two years before on his desper-
ate journey from Timbuctoo.
The river Niger was, where Barth crossed it, about
three-quarters of a mile broad, but in the rainy
season it lays the whole country to a great distance
under water. Yet, except for a few fishing-boats, the
grand river was tenantless. At one of the villages on
this part of the river Barth received the unwelcome
news that the sheik, El Bakay, on whose noble and
trustworthy character he had placed his hopes of
success, was away in Gundam.
At Kabara, where a numerous fleet of good-sized
boats was lying, Barth was visited by a party of
armed men, horse and foot, from Timbuctoo, most of
them clad in light-blue tobes, tightly girt round the
waist with a shawl, and short breeches, their heads
covered with a pointed straw hat. As they were
busy in protecting their cattle from the Tawarek, they
did not molest our traveller, except by their rude
300 DR. BARTH' S TRAVELS.
Meanwhile a messenger had been despatched to
Timbuctoo to obtain protection for our traveller, and
in the evening Sheik El Bakay's brother arrived
with his followers. Under the escort and protection
of this chieftain, Barth proceeded the next day, Sep-
tember 7 th, to Timbuctoo.
The way at first lay through a desert tract, thickly
lined with thorny bushes and stunted trees, infested
by the Tawarek. This short road between the har-
bour and the town is so unsafe that it bears the
remarkable name, Ur-immandes (" he does not hear "),
because the cry of the unfortunate victim cannot be
heard from either side.
As they approached the town, the travellers were
met by a body of people who had come out to bid
the stranger welcome. " This was," says Dr. Barth,
"a very important moment, as, if they had felt the
slightest suspicion with regard to my character, they
might easily have prevented my entering the town at
all, and thus even endangered my life.
" I therefore took the hint of Alawate, who recom-
mended me to make a start in advance and anticipate
the salute of these people who had come to meet us ;
and putting my horse to a gallop, and gun in hand, I
galloped up to meet them, when I was received with
many salaams. But a circumstance occurred which
might have proved fatal not only to my enterprise,
but even to my own personal safety, as there was a man
DR. BABTH'S TBAVELS. 303
among the group who addressed me in Turkish, which
I had almost entirely forgotten, so that I could with
difficulty make a suitable answer to his compliment ;
but avoiding further indiscreet questions, I pushed on
in order to get under safe cover.
" Having then traversed the rubbish which has
accumulated round the ruined clay wall of the town,
and left on one side a row of dirty reed huts, which
encompass the whole of the place, we entered the
narrow streets and lanes, which scarcely allowed two
horses to proceed abreast. But I was not a little
surprised at the populous and wealthy character
which this quarter of the town exhibited, many of
the houses rising to the height of two stories. Fol-
lowed by a numerous troop of people, we passed the
house of the sheik, El Bakay, where I was desired
to fire a pistol ; but as I had all my arms loaded with
ball, I prudently declined to do so, and left it to one
of my people to do honour to the house of our host.
We thus reached the house on the other side of the
street which was destined for my residence, and I
was glad when I found myself safely in my new
In Timbuctoo, the city of his hopes, unlooked-for
trials awaited the brave traveller, and for long his
life was endangered. The same Arab who had sug-
gested that Dr. Barth should pass as a Mohammedan
proved treacherous, and no sooner was it known that
304 DR. BARTH' S TRAVELS.
he was an infidel, as they called a Christian, than a
party arose demanding either his expulsion or his
death. Probably some heavy bribes might have soon
quieted the clamour, but such means do not seem to
have been tried ; and so their seven months' residence
in the city was a dangerous and exciting time for
Barth and his party.
Although it had been arranged that during the
absence of the sheik, El Bakay, whose special guest
Barth was to be, no one should be allowed to see him,
still numbers of inquisitive people gained access to his
house, to the annoyance of the traveller, who was
seriously ill. On the second day his health began to
improve, however, and he received the visits of several
We cannot sufficiently admire the courage and
self-reliance, the prudence and patience and industrious
observation of our traveller at this trying time in
Timbuctoo. For a time he was a prisoner in all but
name. He writes thus : —
" I was not allowed to stir about, but was confined
within the walls of my house. In order to obviate
the effect of this want of exercise as much as possible,
to enjoy fresh air, and at the same time to become
familiar with the principal features of the town,
through which I was not allowed to move about at
pleasure, I ascended as often as possible the terrace of
my house. This afforded an excellent view over the
DR. BAETH'S TRAVELS. 305
northern quarter of the town. The style of the
buildings was various. I could see clay houses of
different characters, some low and unseemly, others
rising with a second story in front to greater elevation,
the whole being interrupted by a few round huts of
matting. The streets being very narrow, only little
was to be seen of the intercourse carried on in them,
with the exception of the small market in the northern
quarter, which was exposed to view on account of its
situation on the slope of the sand-hills which, in
course of time, have accumulated round the mosque.
" But while the terrace of my house seemed to
make me well acquainted with the character of the
town, it had also the disadvantage of exposing me
fully to the gaze of the passers-by, so that I could
only slowly, and with many interruptions, succeed in
making a sketch of the scene thus offered to my view."
Our traveller made use of his leisure time during
his imprisonment to send articles into the market, he
himself purchasing some calico. In these peaceful
occupations he was, however, disturbed by a rumour
that his enemies were coming to attack him in his
house. Barth suspecting his pretended friends to be
at the bottom of the rumour, treated it with contempt.
At the same time he improved his position in the town,
at least with the more intelligent inhabitants, by a skil-
ful discussion in favour of Christianity as opposed to
306 DR. BARTH'S TRAVELS.
On the 13th of September our traveller received a
friendly letter from El Bakay, to which he at once
replied; and on the 26th the sheik himself arrived
in Timbuctoo. Barth, being still unwell, had to put
off receiving the sheik's visit until the following day,
when they had a long conversation, chiefly concerning
the unfortunate African traveller Major Laing, whose
great bodily strength and noble and chivalrous char-
acter the sheik could not sufficiently admire. Soon
after the interview, Barth sent the sheik a handsome
present, consisting of three bernouses, a Turkey carpet,
four tobes, twenty Spanish dollars in silver, three
black shawls, and other articles, the whole amounting
to the value of about £30. In thanking Barth for
his liberality, the sheik stated that he desired no
more of the traveller at present ; but begged that on
his safe return home Barth should not forget him, but
request Her Majesty's Government to send him some
good fire-arms and some Arabic books. This Barth
willingly pledged himself to do.
On one occasion the sheik made Barth fire off his
six-barrelled pistol in front of the residence, before a
numerous company of people. This caused great
excitement and astonishment among the people, and
exercised a great influence upon Barth's future safety,
as it made them believe he had arms all over his
person, and could fire as many times as he liked.
On the 1st of October a body of armed men
DR. BARTH'S TRAVELS. 309
arrived from the residence of the sheik to whose
nominal sway the town of Timbuctoo and the whole
province had been subjected for many years. They
brought with them an order to expel the stranger out
of the town. This roused the spirit of El Bakay, who
resolved to show that he was able to protect the
traveller, whom he now removed for a short time to
his camp without the town. This change was agree-
able to Barth. He had more liberty and exercise,
better air, and more varied scenery ; but his pleasure
was marred by plots and intrigues. On the 13 th he
returned to Timbuctoo; and although the city was
much disturbed by warfare between the different
tribes, he was able to explore the place more carefully.
The stately appearance of Timbuctoo seems to have
made a deep impression on the traveller's mind.
The dangers of Dr. Barth's position were increasing
daily, and soon he was again removed to the encamp-
ment of El Bakay. In vain he urged his protector
to provide the means of escape. His enemies were
not now confined to one small party ; — their name
was legion. Every week fresh parties kept arriving
with orders to seize the stranger, dead or alive. One
of these parties actually attacked the camp, but was
driven back by the brave traveller and his faithful
protectors. In fact, as Barth says, his mere presence
in the city or its neighbourhood seemed to have upset
the daily life of the whole community. To add to
310 DR. BARTH'S TRAVELS.
the traveller's misery, he was the constant victim of
fever, for Timbuctoo is by no means a healthy place.
At last a fortunate chance turned the tide of per-
secution. On the 19th of December the chief of the
Berabish, who had arrived with a large body of armed
followers to take our traveller's life, fell suddenly sick
" His death," says Dr. Barth, " made an extraor-
dinary impression upon the people, as it was a well-
known fact that it was his father who had killed
Major Laing, the former Christian who had visited
this place ; and the more so, as it was generally be-
lieved that I was Major Laing's son.
" The people could not but think that there was
some supernatural connection between the death of
this man, at this place and at this period, and the
murderous deed perpetrated by his father ; and, on
the whole, I cannot but think that this event exercised
a salutary influence upon my final safety. The
followers of the chief of the Berabish were so fright-
ened, that they came in great procession to the sheik
El Bakay to beg his pardon for their neglect, and to
obtain his blessing; "nay, the old man himself," Barth
writes, "a short time afterwards sent word that he
would in no way interfere with my departure, but
wished nothing better than that I might reach home
The river was at this time rising rapidly, and soon
DR. BARTH'S TRAVELS. 311
filled the valleys of this sandy region. On Christmas
day, 1853, the water entered the wells round the
southern part of the town — an event which happens
only about every third year. At the end of January
the inundation of the Niger reached its height. Soon
boats began to arrive from other towns, bringing
supplies of corn, so that provisions at Timbuctoo
became much cheaper.
Of Timbuctoo as a trading town Dr. Barth says :
" Almost the whole life of the city is based on foreign
commerce, for the splendid river enables the inhabi-
tants to supply all their wants from without. Native
corn is not raised here in sufficient quantities to feed
even a very small proportion of the population.
" The only manufactures of the city, as far as fell
under my observation, are confined to the art of the
blacksmith and to a little leather-work. Some of
these articles, such as provision or luggage bags,
cushions, small leather pouches for tobacco, and gun-
cloths, especially the leather bags, are very neat ; but
even these are mostly manufactured at Tawarek, and
especially by females, so that the industry of the city
is hardly of any account."
Not much dyeing or weaving is done in Timbuctoo,
clothing being chiefly imported from other places.
Some of the natives, however, are very skilful in
adorning their clothing with a fine stitching of silk ;
and those of some of the neighbouring districts pro-
312 DR. BARTH'S TRAVELS.
duce excellent woollen blankets and carpets of vari-
ous colours, which are in great demand among the
Many articles used in Timbuctoo Dr. Barth found
to be of English manufacture, brought either through
Morocco or by way of Sivera, where there are many
European merchants. All the cutlery used in Tim-
buctoo is of English workmanship ; all the calico Barth
saw bore the name of one and the same Manchester
firm, printed in Arabic letters. Tea was largely
bought by the Arabs, though still too dear for the
natives. Tobacco, red cloth, sashes, and looking-
glasses seemed in great demand.
Almost the only things sent out from Timbuctoo
at the time of Dr. Barth's visit seemed to be gold,
some gum and wax, a little ivory, and occasionally a
few slaves. The place seemed to him to offer a
great field for European trade, were it not for the
difficulties in the way of free intercourse with Euro-
peans. The position of the town, at the edge of the
desert and on the border of various tribes, seemed to
make a strong government very difficult, almost im-
possible ; while its distance from the west coast or
the mouth of the Niger made it inaccessible. Yet,
on the other hand, the great facilities of the noble
river, and the security by a mountain chain and a
tract of frightful desert from all danger of French
attack from Algeria or Senegal, and the former
DR. BARTH'S TRAVELS. 313
friendly feelings of the natives towards the English,
seemed to point to a sure way for English pioneers.
After many delays on account of the illness of Dr.
Barth, and other reasons, and one or two false starts,
a final and real start from Timbuctoo was made on
the 18 th of May. It must have been with no small
delight that our traveller found himself at last free
for ever from the turbulent Fulbe and Tawarek and
their swampy regions. He found the country gradu-
ally improved. The route lay partly along the banks
of the magnificent river, on beautiful sandy beaches,
at times shut in by downs, richly clad with dum
palms and other trees. The prevalence of swamps,
however, forced the travellers occasionally to a distance
from the river ; but even there the country was en-
livened by grassy creeks, with groves and villages,
and herds of cattle, sheep, and goats.
Without any serious perils our traveller reached
Gogo, the ancient capital of a strong and mighty
empire. " Cheered at having reached this spot,"
writes Dr. Barth, " I passed a tranquil night, and
rising early in the morning, lay down outside my
tent, quietly enjoying the prospect over this once
busy locality, which, according to many writers, was
once the most splendid city of Negroland, though it
is now the desolate abode of a small and miserable
population. Just opposite to my tent was a ruined
massive tower, the last remains of the principal
314 DR. BABTH'S TBAVELS.
mosque of the capital, the sepulchre of the great
Except this tower, however, all that remained of
the once great city of Negroland was some three to
four hundred huts, in separate groups, and surrounded
by heaps of rubbish. Here an old man offered to
conduct our traveller to a place of interest, and led
him through the rubbish to a long narrow clay build-
ing; but the master of the house refused them admit-
tance. Dr. Barth seems to think this may have been
the burial-place of Mungo Park.
To the south of this old capital of Negroland the
country improved greatly, and on July 9 th Barth,
bidding farewell to his kind old friend El Bakay, who
had escorted him thus far, crossed the river some ten
miles below Gogo. From this place to Say, where he
had first crossed the river, a distance of more than
two hundred and fifty miles, was traversed in safety,
except for an alarming adventure with some mounted
natives, who mistook his party for a hostile army, and
were about to attack them. In the half-civilized
regions through which the return journey lay, there
was the same trouble with greedy rulers, the same
annoyances from thievish, hostile natives, the same
trials of rains, swamps, and fevers, that had marked
the outward journey. More than once, too, their sup-
plies gave out, and threatened them with starvation.
At the town of Sokoto a pleasant surprise awaited
DR. BARTH'S TRAVELS. 315
them in the shape of news that Mr. Vogel and a party
of English travellers sent out by Government had
arrived in Kukawa.
Dr. Barth thus describes his meeting with Mr.
Vogel : " Having rejoined my camels, I set out with-
out delay through the forest, taking the lead with my
head servant ; but I had scarcely proceeded three miles
when I saw advancing towards me a person of strange
aspect — a young man of very fair complexion, dressed
in a tobe like the one I wore myself, and with a white
turban wound thickly round his head. He was accom-
panied by two or three blacks, likewise on horseback.
One of them I recognized as my servant Madi, whom,
on setting out from Kukawa, I had left in the house
as a guardian. As soon as he saw me he told the
young man that I was Abd el Kerim ; in consequence
of which Mr. Vogel (for he it was) rushed forward,
and, taken by surprise as both of us were, we gave
each other a hearty reception from horseback. As
for myself, I had not had the remotest expectation of
meeting him ; and he, on his part, had only a short
time before received the intelligence of my safe return
from the west. Not having the slightest notion that
I was alive, and judging from its Arab address that
the letter which I forwarded to him from Kano was
a letter from some Arab, he had put it by without
opening it, waiting till he might meet with a person
who should be able to read it.
316 DB. BABTH'S TBAVELS.
" In the midst of this inhospitable forest we dis-
mounted and sat down together on the ground ; and
my camels having arrived, I took out my small bag
of provisions, and had some coffee boiled, so that we
were quite at home. It was with great amazement
that I heard from my young friend that there were
no supplies in Kukawa ; that what he had brought
with him had been spent ; and that the usurper, Abd
e' Rahman, had treated him very badly, having even
taken possession of the property which I had left in
Soon the rest of the caravan came up, and were
amazed to find their leader quietly conversing with
a friend in the midst of the forest, while the whole
district was infested by hostile men.
After arranging to meet in Kukawa before the end
of the month, the two friends separated, Mr. Vogel
going on to Zinder, Dr. Barth hastening to overtake
On reaching safely the town of Kukawa, from
which place he had first commenced his journeys of
exploration into Negroland, it might seem as if our
traveller had at last overcome all his difficulties, and
should be able to enjoy a short rest before setting out
on the last stage of his homeward journey. But such
was not the case, and he had to pass four rather un-
pleasant months in the town. Being in want of
money, and finding that a great part of Mr. Vogel's
DR. BARTH' S TRAVELS. 317
stores had been abstracted, Dr. Barth explained these
matters to the sheik, to whom he first made a present
of about £8 in money. By so doing he incurred the
dislike of one of the most influential courtiers, whose
servant, or more probably himself, had obtained the
greater share of the plunder. Another disagreeable
circumstance was the unfriendly relation between Mr.
Vogel and Corporal Church, one of his sappers, which
Dr. Barth did his best to improve.
More pleasant occupation was found in looking
over the books Mr. Vogel had brought with him,
and also re-reading a packet of letters, some dated
as far back as December 1851, found in a box which
had been plundered. Partly in fulfilment of a vow
he had made, and partly to make the natives more
friendly towards him, Dr. Barth made a present to
the inhabitants of the capital on Christmas day of
fourteen oxen, not forgetting either rich or poor, blind
or maimed, nor even the Arab strangers.
On the 29th of December Mr. Vogel returned to
Ktikawa, and Dr. Barth and the brave enterprising
young traveller spent twenty days together very
pleasantly, the latter quickly adapting himself to the
strange new life. In his youthful enthusiasm, how-
ever, Mr. Vogel seems sometimes to have made the
mistake of expecting that his companions, recently
arrived from Europe, perhaps with less elevated ideas
of their mission, should, like himself, give up all their
318 DR. BARTH'S TRAVELS.
pretensions to comfort. Thus quarrels arose, and hin-
dered the work of the party sent out by Government.
The more experienced and the young traveller, how-
ever, passed their time very pleasantly, exchanging
opinions about the countries both had already trav-
ersed, and making plans for Mr. Vogel's future course,
Dr. Barth giving his young friend much information,
and the care of clearing up several undecided points.
" Thus," he writes, " we began cheerfully the year
1855, in which I was to return to Europe from my
long career of hardships and privations, and in which
my young friend was to endeavour to complete my
discoveries and researches.
" Meanwhile some interesting excursions to the
shores of the Tchad formed a pleasant interruption
in our course of studies and scientific communication ;
and these little trips were especially interesting on
account of the extraordinary manner in which the
shores of the lake had been changed since I last saw
There were two subjects which caused Dr. Barth
anxiety about the future of the enterprising young
explorer Mr. Vogel ; — the first, his want of experience,
for he was still a young man, and fresh from Europe ;
the other was his weakness of digestion, which made
it impossible for him to eat meat of any kind. The
very sight of a dish of meat made him sick.
Having assisted Mr. Vogel with all his preparations,
DR. BARTH'S TRAVELS. 319
and foreseeing trouble with the transporting of his
rather heavy and unusual luggage, the older traveller
escorted his young friend out of the town on the
20th of January, bearing him company in the fol-
lowing day's march, and leaving him with the best
of wishes. Corporal Macguire went on with Mr.
Vogel, but it was thought best for Corporal Church
to return to Europe with Dr. Barth — perhaps because
of the frequent disagreements between him and his
young commanding officer.
This was the last Dr. Barth saw of the brave young
explorer, who set out so cheerfully and hopefully. It
is supposed that he was afterwards murdered, while
Macguire probably shared a similar fate, on his way
home, at the well of Bedwaram.
Barth meanwhile returned to Kukawa, feeling
rather desolate and lonely. The cold to which he
had been exposed on the previous night brought on
a violent attack of rheumatism, which laid him up
for a long time, causing him many sleepless nights,
and leaving him unusually weak. Yet he repeatedly
begged the sheik to let him depart, and supply him
at least with camels to make up for the loss he had
suffered from the insurrection in the town. To his
great delight, two respectable Arabs offered to accom-
pany him to Fezzan.
On the 20th of February Barth left Kukawa, and
pitched his tent on the high ground outside the city,
320 DR. BARTH' S TRAVELS.
feeling extremely happy in having at length left be-
hind him a town of which he had become very tired.
But he was not to get off so easily ; for the sheik,
with whom, as with most of his kind, time was of no
value, managed to hinder the traveller. At last, see-
ing his determination, the sheik sent five camels,
which, though of inferior quality, enabled Barth to
set out. But still there was delay, as the sheik
earnestly desired Barth to return to the town, prom-
ising him the fulfilment of all his claims. Anxious
to leave on good terms with the chief, the traveller
went into the town again, but declined to stay, as his
health rendered it necessary that he should at once
return home. Expecting to be hindered yet a couple
of months if he remained in the town, he offered to
wait outside the city for a few days longer, and if
the sheik should wish to see him, to come to the
residence every day. To this the sheik agreed, and
the two parted in the most quiet and satisfactory
manner, and it appeared as if everything were ar-
ranged. Accordingly our traveller purchased two
more camels, and on the 25th engaged a guide, pay-
ing him half his salary in advance.
But when all seemed ready for departure, again a
message came from the sheik ordering Barth to re-
turn. He did so very reluctantly, and found that the
chief was unwilling to let him depart unsatisfied.
Meanwhile a large caravan had arrived from the north,
DR. BABTH'S TBAVELS. 321
bringing, among other things, money for the English
mission ; addressed, however, not to Dr. Barth, who
had been given up as lost, but to Mr. Vogel. This
made Barth's position still more unpleasant ; for, in-
stead of leaving the country honourably, he was now
considered as almost disgraced by those who had sent
him, the command seeming to have been taken from
him and given to another and a younger man. This
still further delayed his departure, and it was not
until the 4 th of May that Barth finally left the town
and encamped outside the gate. There he waited
some days for a fellow-traveller, Kolo, who was still
detained in the town, and so did not take leave of the
sheik until the 9th of the month.
" He received me," says Barth, " with great kind-
ness, but was by no means backward in begging for
several articles to be sent to him, especially a small
cannon ; which was rather out of comparison with the
poor present which he had bestowed upon myself."
Just before setting out, Barth lost three camels,
so that he was obliged to throw away several things,
with which his people had overladen his animals.
The final start was made on the 10th of May, in a
heavy thunder-storm. But nevertheless, Barth says,
" I was filled with the hope that a merciful Providence
would allow me to reach home in safety, in order to
give a full account of my labours and discoveries."
The first night of their march was somewhat dis-
322 DR. BARTH' S TRAVELS.
turbed by the noise and cries of three monkeys which
Barth wished to take to Europe. They so frightened
the camels that they started off at a gallop, breaking
several things, amongst others a strong musket.
Nothing could be done but to let loose the malicious
little creatures ; which, instead of remaining quiet,
amused themselves with loosening all the ropes with
which the luggage was tied on to the backs of the
At Bedwaram (where poor Macguire was probably
afterwards killed) the travellers stopped for supplies
of water, but had great trouble in opening the well.
Then followed a tedious night march through the
dreary desert of Tintumma, where Barth, lingering
too long over a cup of coffee, got left behind, and
would probably have had some difficulty in rejoining
the caravan, had not the servants, contrary to his
orders to spare the powder as much as possible, kept
firing their pistols off at random. Cheered by the
firing, and perhaps impressed with the awful character
of the country through which they were travelling at
such an hour, the slaves, forgetful of their over-fatigue,
kept up an uninterrupted song, which reached the
ears of Barth as he followed at some distance. When
their leader did at last overtake them, the servants
and slaves would fain have lagged behind, being very
weary, and Barth had trouble in urging them on, to
prevent them falling a sacrifice to thirst and fatigue.
DR. BARTE'S TRAVELS. 323
At the beautiful well of Dibbela (which, however,
contains abominable water), Mr. Henry Warrington,
who had accompanied Vogel to Kiikawa, fell ill of
dysentery — probably the result of the heat and the
After much weary travelling over sandy deserts
under scorching suns, Barth at length approached
Tripoli. Very pleasant were the kind messages await-
ing him, and most welcome to the exhausted traveller
was the sight of the wide expanse of sea, which in the
bright southern sunshine spreads out with a tint of
the darkest blue. He thus describes his feelings : —
" I felt so grateful to Providence for having again
reached in safety the border of the Mediterranean
basin, the cradle of European civilization, which from
an early period had formed the object of my earnest
longings and most serious course of studies, that I
would fain have alighted from my horse on the sea-
beach to offer up a prayer of thanksgiving to the
Almighty, who, with the most conspicuous mercy, had
led me through the many dangers which surrounded
my path, both from fanatical men and an unhealthy
Having stayed four days in Tripoli, where he was
warmly welcomed by many friends, Barth embarked
in a Turkish steamer returning to Malta. There he
reembarked, and landing at Marseilles, passed through
Paris, and reached London on the 6th September,
324 DR. BARTH'S TRAVELS.
where he was kindly received by Lord Palmerston
and Lord Clarendon, who took the greatest interest in
hearing of the remarkable success that had attended
his expedition. He had been absent from Europe
nearly five and a half years. The whole expedition
had cost the Government a sum under £1,400.
Barth had indeed good reason to be thankful for
the good fortune that had attended him. The mere
fact of his having entered and left Timbuctoo alive
and unharmed was in itself a remarkable proof of his
zeal and perseverance.
His discoveries had been many and valuable, and
afforded much new information about the past history
and present condition, manners, customs, and distinc-
tions of the various tribes of Central Africa, both
Arab and Negro. But his grand discovery was that
concerning the Niger — " the great highway of West
Central Africa," as he aptly named it. He succeeded
in exploring that part of the river left unknown by
the untimely fate of Mungo Park. It is to Dr. Barth
that we owe the discovery that the Benue' is a tribu-
tary of the Niger, and that by it European boats can
reach the regions bordering on Lake Tchad.
Not only did Barth succeed in making known a
part of Africa hitherto unknown even to most Arab
merchants, but he also contrived to establish friendly
relations with all the most powerful chiefs along the
river, up even to the mysterious city of Timbuctoo.
DR. BABTH'S TBAVELS. 325
For Britain Dr. Barth's discoveries have a special
importance ; for, by showing the friendly feelings of
the negro states towards England, they pointed a way
to a great field for missionary enterprise, and the
ending of the disgraceful traffic in slaves. It seems
that the sovereigns of Central Africa, when pressed
by debts which they cannot otherwise meet, or eager
to obtain arms and gunpowder, endeavour to capture
the black bullion of the country, which they sell to
the Americans, or exchange for the instruments of war.
Dr. Barth thinks that if these native princes could
be got to understand that Europeans are willing to
exchange the European goods for cotton, rice, and such
useful products, doubtless those commodities would be
more cultivated, and peace take the place of war.
MR. THOMPSON ON THE NIGER.
Among recent African travellers Mr. Joseph Thompson
takes high and honourable rank. He was second in
command of the expedition which Mr. Keith Johnston
led ; and when that gentleman met his untimely death
at the very outset of his enterprise, the journey was
carried on by Mr. Thompson to a successful close.
This was the beginning of young Thompson's career
as an explorer, which has since gone on with increas-
ing results and distinction. The traveller is still a
young man, and, if life be spared to him, may be ex-
pected to do yet more signal work in Africa. His
book, " Through Masailand," was received with marked
favour by the press and the public, and at once placed
the author in the foremost rank of African explorers.
The writer of these pages had the pleasure of meet-
ing Mr. Thompson shortly after his return from one
of his African journeys, and of hearing from the young
traveller's own lips many interesting and curious de-
tails of life and pioneer work in Central Africa. We
MR. THOMPSON ON THE NIGER. 327
particularly remember Mr. Thompson's remarks as to
the strange fascination which African travel exerts
for all who have ever had experience of it ; — how, in
spite of the innumerable hardships and daily perils
that must be encountered, in spite of the deadly nature
of the climate and the certainty of the traveller suf-
fering more or less from its poison, the charm of
African travel still remains irresistible, luring back
the explorer again and again, though he knows all the
while that every new expedition probably cuts years
off his life.
One of Mr. Thompson's latest journeys was along
the course of the Niger to the central Soudan. As
being germane to our subject, and an appropriate con-
clusion to this brief story of the Niger, we purpose
giving an epitome of his experiences of a region which
the labours, the heroism, and the death of many brave
men have now rendered almost classic ground.
Mr. Thompson left Liverpool for the African coast
in February 1885, and after touching at Madeira,
Teneriffe, and Canary, landed at Bathurst on the
Gambia river. Here the young traveller did not fail
to visit the house which Mungo Park occupied while
preparations were in train for his great journey. We
may imagine what absorbing interest this spot would
have for Mr. Thompson ; for here were forged the
beginnings of the long chain of African exploration
in which Mungo Park was the first link, and Mr.
328 MR. THOMPSON ON THE NIGER.
Thompson himself among the latest. Wh6 will be
the last, final link, and at what date he will fall, who
may say ?
From Bathurst the traveller journeyed to Sierra
Leone, which he describes as the chief centre of illu-
mination for the Dark Continent. That is to say, the
people of Sierra Leone regard themselves as decidedly
persons of distinction, intellectually speaking; and Mr.
Thompson gives us a rapid but amusing glimpse of
the Sierra Leone "nigger," promenading himself in
pants of the latest Parisian mode, an astonishing ex-
panse of snow-white linen, stove-pipe hat cocked
jantily over his nose, and flourishing the trimmest of
canes in his dusky hand — altogether putting on an
amount of " weather-helm," as sailors say, that to
the stranger is highly edifying.
Mr. Thompson's first glimpse of the Niger was the
reverse of alluring. " Everything looked miserable
and dreary — a steaming atmosphere, rain, thunder,
lightning, and the most threatening of clouds." To
right and left the eye of the traveller rested on nought
but interminable expanses of mangroves, between
which monotonous walls the great river stretched for-
ward in long reaches, discoloured and gloomy in hue,
and throwing out numerous arms this way and that
— a depressing vista that summoned up dreary visions
of fever and ague, and the innumerable physical ills
that dog the footsteps of the white man in Africa.
MR. THOMPSON ON THE NIGER. 329
Mr. Thompson had visited many places which dis-
puted for the honour of being the true " white man's
grave," but his first view of the Niger went far to
convince him that, as the advertisements say, " none
other was genuine."
At Akassa, the headquarters of the National African
Company, whose servant Mr. Thompson for the time
being was, the traveller's sea-journey ended. A beach
strewn with the hulls of old ships and steamers, an
old timber jetty, and a new iron one in course of
construction, and behind these the residences of the
merchants, looking pleasantly cool beneath their broad
verandas, the whole framed in by the mangrove woods
— such are the general features of Akassa. Mr.
Thompson was hospitably welcomed and entertained
by the palm-oil merchants of the depot, the kindliness
of his reception going a considerable way towards
raising his spirits from the depression which his first
glimpses of the Niger had induced.
We next behold the traveller fairly afloat on the
great river, his means of transit being the National
African Company's steam-launch Frangais. His
physical feelings are not enviable ; for to the intense
heat of the atmosphere is added the circumstance that
he sits close alongside the boilers, so that he is all
the time very much like a man in a Turkish bath
against his will. But the scene which feasted the
traveller's eyes in a great measure compensated for
330 MR. THOMPSON ON THE NIGER.
the discomfort of his bodily sensations. His first
unfavourable impressions of the Niger had now dis-
appeared — no longer did he view it as the white
man's sepulchre. In place of the gloomy swamps,
miasma-breathing marshes, and fever-laden air which
characterize the entrance of the river, his gaze now
rested on magnificent virgin forests of silk-cotton and
palm-oil trees. Here, the Frangais glided past little
hamlets of square-shaped huts set in plantations of
cocoa-nut trees ; there, clearings planted with sugar-
cane, beans, and yams. Naked boys sported in the
warm waters in the vicinity of the villages, who
shouted and laughed as the steamer drew near; women
carrying water from the river swelled the hubbub,
while others came flying out from the houses to watch
the steamer pass. Some of the men, with an eye to
business, put off in their canoes and offered fish for
sale to the travellers, while others quietly watched
the Frangais from the shore unmoved and unexcited ;
and Mr. Thompson could not help thinking of the
old days of African travel, when such an invasion
of the black man's territory as he was now making
would have been met at the spear-point.
In these Niger hamlets all the work of the field
seemed to be borne by the women, and our travellers
constantly beheld groups of them preparing palm oil
and engaged in other plantation work. The scenery
of the river changed continually as the little launch
MR. THOMPSON ON THE NIGER. 331
followed its windings. Now it twisted and coiled in
serpent-like folds, now it broadened into a flashing
lake, girdled with yellow sand and framed in by
the primeval forest. Huts dotted the banks, canoes
paddled up and down the stream, a fresh breeze blew
in the face of the travellers, and in this wise the
Frangais pursued her voyage towards the Soudan
Now and then an incident of a more stirring char-
acter befell — such as the appearance of a hippopotamus.
A shout from the lookout-man, a sudden snatching up
of rifles, and a hurrying to get sight of the formidable
river-horse ! But before aim can be taken the un-
wieldy creature has gone down again, leaving nothing
behind him but a grunt, and Master Hippo is not to
be caught " this trip," as they say in Australia.
On the fourth day of the Frangais' voyage, the
travellers (Mr. Thompson was accompanied by two
comrades) were able to form a just estimate of the
full breadth and volume of the majestic river whose
course they were following. The height of the banks
was now between twenty and thirty feet, the stretch
of gleaming river and golden sand between being
from one mile to a mile and a half in extent.
Evidences of trade now met the gaze on every
hand. Every mile or two a very practical-looking
factory, with unsesthetic galvanized iron roof and
whitewashed walls, broke the dense greenery of the
332 MR. THOMPSON ON THE NIGER.
forest. Every year the stillness of the woods is
being more and more disturbed by- the whistle of the
steamer ; every year the leopard and the monkey are
driven further back into their forest fastnesses. The
Niger, as an exciting arena of sport and hairbreadth
adventure, is yearly getting the romance knocked
out of it. Reflecting upon all which, Mr. Thompson,
who, we suspect, is more of a traveller and a sports-
man, after all, than a trader, could not suppress a
sigh. Disembarking at the residence of an " agent,"
he was greeted by gentlemen fashionably set forth in
linen of the whitest and shiniest, and escorted into a
house appointed with mahogany English furniture,
while summer-houses and sunflowers were among the
amenities of the surrounding gardens. Finally, a
dinner of European quality, and more than European
abundance, was spread for the stranger's entertain-
This was all very pleasant and comfortable, but it
was hardly this phase of life on the Niger that Mr.
Thompson was desirous of studying. As soon as
possible, therefore, he betook himself to the contem-
plation of natural man as he manifests himself on the
Niger. Here again he was fated to disenchantment.
The once wild and untutored black man, who had at
least a sort of savage grandeur and picturesqueness, is
now a " nigger " merely, passes the time of day to the
stranger, and wears a lawn-tennis hat emblazoned with
MR. THOMPSON ON THE NIGER. 333
the self-same device with which young English tennis
dandies delight to broider theirs — the ubiquitous sun-
flower. Indeed, this unmistakable note of an aesthetic
civilization notwithstanding, the negroes of the Niger
are at present poor and wretched creatures, half-
starved in body and worn down by incessant civil
feuds and warfare. But there are signs, Mr. Thomp-
son tells us, that a brighter future is in store for these
races, when the British Government shall have become
firmly established as the protectors of the region.
And here it is fitting to note a change which took
place in Mr. Thompson's opinion in regard to the effect
of trade and civilization on the Niger. At first he
was disposed to think that the chief result of the
white man's commerce with the natives of the Niger
had been to inoculate them with a love of strong
drink, the disastrous effects of which were abundantly
manifest on the coast settlements. But as he jour-
neyed further up the river, he was glad to notice a
vast improvement on this point. He found large
stores filled with European cloth and hardware destined
for the native population, while the stock of gin and
other ardent liquors was by comparison very small.
The African Company alone is to be thanked for this
new and admirable departure, and it is doing all in
its power to retrieve the evil done under the former
system of trading.
After halting awhile at Lokoja, where he was joined
334 ME. THOMPSON ON THE NIGER.
by Mr. W. J. Seago, a gentleman who had passed
seven years on the Niger, Mr. Thompson resumed his
journey. The river was now flowing through a deep
valley, banked by precipitous cliffs. The scenery was
in parts romantic, and the heat " simply terrific." On
March 31st Egga was reached, a considerable town,
and here an interpreter joined the expedition. At
Shunga, where Mr. Forbes the naturalist had died a
short time before, Mr. Thompson was much interested
in the Yoruba men and the Nupe women traders, and
especially in the enormous quantity of clothing worn
by both. A Yoruba merchant's pants consume fifteen
yards of cotton cloth, his coat rather more, his turban
thirty yards ; throw in ten yards for superfluous
adornment, and you have seventy yards of cloth in
all. Here, as Mr. Thompson suggests, is a magnificent
field for European enterprise — where forty millions
of African negroes shall require garments of this
Shunga was the last of the trading stations in the
track of the expedition. Mr. Thompson now anti-
cipated, being quite beyond the pale of civilization,
" stirring times." He got them, but not quite of the
sort he had calculated on. He and Mr. Seago were
for some little time kept remarkably busy, but not
by adventures with wild animals and wilder natives,
but by dissension and mutiny among his own men.
From threatening to murder their leaders, several of
MR. THOMPSON ON THE NIGER. 335
the native followers actually proceeded to the attempt,
and in one instance just missed being successful.
These acts of rebellion and outrage had, of course, to
be met with the sternest remedies, and Mr. Thompson
and Mr. Seago had literally to fight the more insub-
ordinate of their men hand to hand. The struggle
for final mastery was a desperate one, but at last
victory lay with the white men ; and their swarthy
antagonists were taught that respect for their leaders
without which such an expedition as Mr. Thompson
had in hand must inevitably end in shipwreck.
The journey now led almost due north as far as
Kontokora. Fresh hardships soon overtook the little
party. One of Mr. Thompson's comrades, who was in
front with an advance guard, broke his leg, and had
to be sent back ; supplies of food were difficult to
be obtained, through the obstinacy of native chiefs ;
and lastly, a terrific tornado broke over the camp.
The tents were wrecked, and in the confusion and
dreadful darkness which accompanied the storm the
horses took fright and broke away from their fasten-
ings. Day dawned to find the party in the most
miserable case. A dozen porters and half the horse-
boys had deserted ; and with their numerical strength
thus diminished, and after much delay in recapturing
the horses, the expedition again moved forward.
A halt was made towards noon, and aid was pro-
cured at Bukani for the more exhausted of the natives.
336 MR. THOMPSON ON THE NIGER.
The expedition had marched all the morning fasting,
and all were at the end of their physical resources.
Food was now obtained, however, and the night was
passed in the midst of a second furious tornado.
Next day the outlook did not brighten. The men,
wearied by the march and exhausted from insufficient
food, again showed signs of mutiny. They declared
that unless they were provided with fish and rice they
would give up the march. To procure rice and fish
was a difficult and expensive matter. The Brassmen
were those who were most unreasonable in their
demands and most obstinate in their refusal to work.
These were finally told that they might desert if they
cared or dared. They did not dare, for retreat had
now more risk in it than advance. Next morning
the remainder of the horse-boys deserted, and Mr.
Thompson and Mr. Seago had now to be their own
Every day matters looked more gloomy. Food
continued to be difficult to procure, and the rebellious
spirit in the camp broke out again and again. Much
to the regret and chagrin of Mr. Thompson, his work
at this time was little better than that of a slave-
driver. But it was either this or a total abandonment
of the expedition and inglorious retreat to the coast.
Amid these many and various harassments and
annoyances, Mr. Thompson was nevertheless not en-
tirely without solace. On the whole the march itself
MR. THOMPSON ON THE NIGER. 337
was not a difficult or toilsome one, but led by winding
ways through pine forest land, thickly set with shea-
butter trees. Everywhere the vegetation was of
tropical wealth, and lush-green in its luxuriance ; the
vivid emeralds varied, however, by tints of gold and
copper, like an English autumn coppice. Neither was
water wanting to complete the landscape — bright
streams bubbling through the forest alleys, about
whose marge the palm-oil trees clustered in shady
clumps. Large towns in complete ruin were here and
there passed, and now and then a clearing. If the
reader will turn back upon these pages, he will find
Clapperton making mention of cities, with populations
of tens of thousands, scattered about the same region
of Northern Nupe ; and Mr. Thompson, beholding
these ruins, could not but reflect on their lost pros-
perity with sadness. For then this land was a rich
and bountiful one, and the peoples of these ruined
towns enjoyed life after their own rude free fashion,
with feast, song, and dance. Civil war has wrought
the miserable change, and the populations of these
once flourishing towns are dead, or worse — sold into
slavery. Everywhere Mr. Thompson saw the wreck
of what had once been fertile fields. Since his
journey, let it be added, Nupe' has been placed under
a British protectorate, and its people may now expect
at least immunity from their oppressors.
As the expedition drew near Kontokora, which is
338 MR. THOMPSON ON THE NIGER.
a considerable town, Mr. Thompson and Mr. Seago
advanced to the front. Presently strains of wild
music fell upon their ears — the music of pipes and
trumpets and tom-toms. Then a company of horse-
men were seen — Filianis who had ridden forth to
meet the strangers. With a wild shout, the horsemen
bore down upon the white men, each cavalier brandish-
ing aloft his spear, and all gorgeously arrayed in
Oriental fashion, with trappings of leather, cloth, and
brass, and turbans of the most voluminous description.
So warlike was the appearance of these Filiani cavalry,
that Mr. Thompson at first judged their intentions to
be hostile ; but this was only the national manner of
salute. Two venerable old men were now beheld
seated beneath a tree, to whom the white men, con-
cluding them to be persons of degree, advanced, and
were received with much ceremony and many compli-
ments. Amid a renewed uproar of shouting, and
music of the pipes and tom-toms, Mr. Thompson was
then conducted to Kontokora. Crowds lined the
streets to witness the advent of the white men whose
coming was expected, and amid a surprising show of
state and pomp the strangers were escorted to the
house which had been prepared for their reception,
and where an abundant feast had been spread for
their refreshment. This hospitable reception inspired
Mr. Thompson with the hope that the worst of his
difficulties were over,
MB. THOMPSON ON THE NIGER. 341
After staying two days at Kontokora, the march
was resumed in a north-westerly direction, and the
Niger was again struck near the Boussa Falls, the spot,
our reader may remember, where Park met his death.
The course of the river was followed as far as its
tributary the Gulbi-n-Gindi, along which the ex-
pedition then proceeded. Here Mr. Thompson was
struck down with severe sickness, which was like to
end seriously, had not the course of the malady at
last yielded to the treatment before reaching the most
acute stage. He had hardly recovered from this
illness when a desperate attempt was made on his life
by one of his men, happily rendered unsuccessful by
the prompt assistance of Mr. Seago. After this the
mutinous spirit, which had so often broken out in the
camp, died away. Awed at length by the firm, un-
yielding front presented by the white men, the natives
" caved in," and henceforth obedience and order were
maintained among Kruboys and Brassmen.
The most important town on the Gulbi-n-Gindi is
Jega, a large trade centre, where converge " the main
lines of commerce from the countries to the south,
especially Nupe" and Yoruba." At Jega, a place
which was full of interest for Mr. Thompson, he could
only remain one day. On the following the camp
again took the road, striking westward for Sokoto.
It was now towards the close of the dry season, all
surrounding nature showed every sign of long drought,
342 MB. THOMPSON ON THE NIGER.
and the barren land and the fierce sun rendered the
march difficult and painful. The land was not entirely
treeless, however — fan-palms, bas-bats, and dum-palms
springing up here and there in the otherwise sterile
waste. The aspect of the country was different, in
many essentials, from that through which Mr. Thomp-
son's journey had hitherto lain. No traces of civil
war were anywhere manifest, no trackless forests, the
home of wild beasts only, no malarious swamps and
fever-haunted marshes. The earth, broken on every
hand by furrow-marks, clearly showed that it was
annually cultivated. Presently, too, numerous villages
were met with, each containing some two or three
thousand inhabitants. These hamlets were snugly
enough built, the roofs of the huts being of a conical
shape, the houses themselves being invariably shaded
The road now presented a busy scene of traffic and
general activity. Abundant signs of commerce met
the travellers ; camels, donkeys, bullocks, and horses,
all heavily laden, maintaining an endless stream along
the highways. Filiani horsemen, looking very im-
posing in their picturesque and voluminous dress,
ambled past, followed by numerous attendants, some
on horseback, some on foot. Bringing up the rear
came the ladies of the harem, veiled to the eyes from
the vulgar sight — a merciful provision for the European
traveller, Mr. Thompson hints, for he is thus spared
MR. THOMPSON ON THE NIGER. 345
the sight of some very plain faces. The people who
struck Mr. Thompson as the most picturesque of any
which he met in the Soudan were the Tuareg of
Asben, who, clad, if such a word could be applied to
them, in a very wreck of tatters and rags, contrived
to fold their dirty and squalid garments around them
with a wonderful picturesqueness, and to group them-
selves in graceful and artistic attitudes.
The religious fervour of the races among which Mr.
Thompson was now sojourning was manifest on every
hand. Everywhere by the roadside " praying-places "
were built — little niches facing Mecca-wards — where
the faithful disciples of Mohammed might at any time
worship their prophet.
On May 21st the important city of Sokoto was
approached. Here Mr. Thompson anticipated a cere-
monious reception ; to be worthy of which he and
Mr. Seago arrayed themselves in their most gorgeous
attire. The leader of the expedition made himself
gorgeous in a parti-coloured singlet of silk and wool,
white ducks, canvas gaiters, and puggaree-enveloped
helmet; while Mr. Seago was got up in pyjamas, white
jacket, helmet and gaiters. What was the particular
significance of the gaiters — an uncomfortable article
in a warm climate — Mr. Thompson does not tell us,
but they were probably donned with an eye to some
possible effect on the native mind.
At first the reception of the travellers at Sokoto
346 MR. THOMPSON ON THE NIGER.
was the reverse of what had been looked for; but this,
they presently heard, was due to the circumstance that
their guide had been procured from an enemy of the
governor. Before long, Mr. Thompson and his com-
panions were provided with an abundance of food, both
cooked and uncooked, by the leading men of the city.
On the day following his arrival at Sokoto, and
while messengers were on their way to the sultan,
Mr. Thompson employed the time in taking photo-
graphs. He was thus drawn into an adventure, dis-
agreeable in its details, and coming very near to being
disastrous in its consequences. The traveller set up
his camera in the market-place, then in the full tide
of trade, with an uproar filling the air from some tens
of thousands of bargaining and disputing traders.
None of these people had ever seen a white man
before, and when one came armed with so curious a
looking instrument as a photographic camera, it is
little to be wondered at that the crowd took fright at
the phenomenon. The throng pressed closer and
closer about Mr. Thompson ; cries arose which pres-
ently swelled into a deafening shout, every moment
growing angrier and more excited. The camera very
nearly came to grief. The incensed and agitated mob
pressed on ; the market stalls were knocked over, and
their contents scattered on the ground. Sheep, goats,
cattle, and camels, got loose, and rushing about among
the crowd, made confusion thrice confounded ; and in
MR THOMPSON ON THE NIGER. 349
the midst of this extraordinary scene of panic and
uproar the white men, for a little, fared very badly.
At last they succeeded in pushing their way through
the throng and getting free of the market-place.
The people had got it into their heads that the photo-
graphic apparatus was an instrument of witchcraft,
and that Mr. Thompson's intention was to exercise its
powers upon them.
On the following day the travellers presented
themselves before the sultan Umuru Serki-n-Musulmia.
Passing through a court and passage, they were escorted
to a massively-built, flat-roofed edifice, in front of
which stood an elevated throne of mud. Here sat,
cross-legged and robed in a mantle broidered with
gold thread, the sultan himself. Nothing of his face
was visible except a pair of flashing eyes ; and so
motionless did Umuru sit that he looked most like a
figure of a Buddhist god.
Elaborate salutations having passed between the
sultan and the white men, followed by a series of
endless interrogations on Umuru's part, they at last
came to business, and Mr. Thompson detailed the
object of his mission. First he thanked the sultan
for the friendly spirit he had always displayed towards
English traders on the river, and begged to present
a small token of their appreciation of the monarch's
kindness. The Englishmen were desirous of entering
into a treaty with Umuru, whereby the relations be-
350 MR. THOMPSON ON THE NIGER.
tween the two might be placed upon a proper footing
and strengthened by every means possible. In this way
great commercial and other advantages would accrue,
not only to the English traders, but in an equal degree
to the sultan.
To all Mr. Thompson's arguments Umuru listened
with close attention and marked signs of approval ;
greatly, of course, to the satisfaction of the former.
At the conclusion of the white man's speech the
sultan expressed himself delighted at the idea of being
brought into closer communication with England and
Englishmen ; and at this point Mr. Thompson deemed
it politic to clinch matters by displaying the presents
he had brought for the negro monarch's acceptance.
These were accordingly brought on the evening of the
same day, and proved to be of the most varied and gor-
geous description. At first Umuru affected to contem-
plate the white men's gift with a dignified calm; but this
presently broke down utterly as the magnificence of
the present — costly beyond his utmost expectation —
became fully realized. Beautiful fabrics in satin,
silk, and velvet, gorgeous embroideries, rugs, silver-
mounted fire-arms, silver cups, etc., and all of the
finest workmanship, were displayed before his delighted
eyes; and lastly, a wonderful silk umbrella, of the largest
dimensions and deeply fringed with gold cord, took com-
plete possession of the royal heart, and Umuru gave vent
to the liveliest expressions of his surprise and pleasure.
MR. THOMPSON ON THE NIGER. 351
On the following day Mr. Thompson presented the
treaty with which he was charged to the sultan, for
his consideration and approval. This document showed
forth how " concessions and grants must be made on
the one hand, if wealth and increased influence and
power were to be secured on the other." Umuru
considered all the proposals contained in the treaty
with more than readiness, and finally signed the
document with alacrity. Mr. Thompson's enterprise
was thus brought to a successful termination with a
greater degree of ease and expedition than he had
ever allowed himself to hope. Handsome presents
were made to the chief men belonging to the sultan's
court, and Mr. Thompson left Sokoto for Gandu to
negotiate a second treaty there.
While sojourning in the Central Soudan, Mr. Thomp-
son found leisure in the midst of his commercial
negotiations to note the many novel and curious
sights that hourly presented themselves before him.
All these were of an exceedingly interesting character,
the " negro empires of the Soudan being so unique and
remarkable in their various characteristics that one is
kept in a continual state of surprise, not less by what
is indigenous than by what is foreign and imported
from North Africa."
Mr. Thompson was, as has been indicated, the agent
of the African Company during the expedition which
352 MB. THOMPSON ON THE NIGER.
we have just sketched. It will therefore be germane
to our subject if we give here a brief summary of the
work and aims of the African Company, or, as it is
now called, the " National African Company."
In 1829 the course of the Lower Niger had been
followed into the Gulf of Guinea, and in that year
it seemed as if a new history awaited the Central
Soudan, which had up to this date been barred to
European mercantile enterprise. But for thirty years
all attempts to establish commercial relations with
this region proved fruitless. Life and money were
freely spent in the enterprise, in every case with dis-
astrous results. Then the British Government with-
drew all official help in the matter, and the adven-
ture fell into private hands. One firm after another
planted trading depots along the Niger, and the
pioneer work was carried on by various leaders, not-
able among whom was Mr. James Croft, once known
as the " Father of the Niger." Nevertheless security
of life and property was not as yet assured, and it
was felt by all interested in the enterprise that some
kind of political organization was needed to secure this.
In the days antecedent to the establishment of the
private trading stations above referred to, all the
region of Central Africa with which we are dealing
was the arena of continual inter-tribal warfare and
slave raids ; and when to this is added the circumstance
that the various British firms were brought into fre-
MR, THOMPSON ON THE NIGER. 353
quent rivalry, and that there was the want of anything
like unity of action among the white traders, it can
easily be understood how progress was slow and un-
satisfactory. But in 1879 all the British interests on
the Niger joined their forces, and the "United African
Company " was the result. One leading feature in
the plan of action of the new company was the en-
deavour to unite the numerous heterogeneous tribes
into one compact whole. It was resolved at the
same time that the company should interfere as little
as possible with the merely internal affairs of each
separate tribe. The company proved successful both
in a political and in a financial view. Its objects
were political and commercial development, the former
as a means to the latter ; the endeavour to effect this
development by the agency of a single company, so as
to avoid intrigue and rivalry ; and to bring the empires
of Gandu and Sokoto into immediate relations with
the company, and thus in time include the territories
of the Tchad basin within the company's operations.
In 1882 the British Government granted the com-
pany a royal charter, and its name now became the
" National African Company." The enterprise re-
ceived a marked stimulus from the grant of the char-
ter — new steamers and launches were built, new depots
established, while small stations became large and im-
portant ones. Thus the company prospered, until two
French houses took up the ground, and entered into
354 MR, THOMPSON ON THE NIGER.
rivalry with it. Had their opponents confined them-
selves to purely commercial work, the African Com-
pany could have had no reason for complaint. But
this the French houses did not do. They used every
endeavour to secure political influence over the native
princes ; and a scheme was set on foot, under the
auspices of M. Gambetta, for welding Tunis, Algeria,
Senegal, the Central Soudan, and the Lower Niger
into a Franco- African empire. The idea was a suf-
ficiently comprehensive one, and whatever its practical
results might have been, it would have effected this at
least — namely, the death-blow of the National African
Company. The French operations on the Niger con-
tinued to develop, and had now to be met by greatly
increased activity, and a large outlay of money on the
part of the company. It was clear that the two rival
parties could not exist side by side, and the African
Company was resolved that it should not be the one
to go to the wall. This region was indebted in every
way to British enterprise and British money, and no
one can wonder at the position which the company
took up in the circumstances. The struggle was a
sharp one, but in the end the older company was left
master of the situation. One of the two French
houses disappeared from the scene, while the other
became absorbed in the English company. But now a
new danger arose for the African Company. Germany
conceived the idea of colonization, for the first time in
MR. THOMPSON ON THE NIGER. 355
her history. At this time there existed in Germany
a feeling strongly antagonistic to England, and it was
probably altogether congenial to the nation that it
should endeavour to press forward colonizing opera-
tions in Africa. Into the fresh struggle which thus
arose the African Company threw itself with great
vigour, despatching Mr. Thompson as its envoy to the
Niger, as has been described in these pages. Mr.
Thompson was successful in concluding treaties with
no less than two hundred and thirty -five native chiefs,
as well as with the Mohammedan empires of Gandu
The National African Company has been able to
maintain, with little or no loss of life by violence
and small loss of property, from fifty to one hundred
establishments, scattered among dense populations
which now engage in amicable barter with the com-
pany, where they would have once thought nothing
of resorting to force. This is in itself a very notable
achievement. Out of very rude and barbarous ma-
terial the company has formed a fairly peaceful and
orderly state ; and this not by force of arms, but by
the legitimate arts of commerce. That it has gained
the confidence of the native races is sufficiently indi-
cated by the fact that they have continually referred
their inter-tribal disputes to the judication of the com-
pany, and that the native princes have been found
ready to surrender their sovereign powers to the com-
356 MR. THOMPSON ON THE NIGER.
pany. A large majority of the chiefs have now,
through their relations with the company, the ambi-
tion of honestly earning their own livelihood, instead
of engaging, as formerly, in unrestricted plunder, war,
and slave-raids. Thus has commercial enterprise been
used as a distinctly civilizing agent among the peoples
of the Niger.
Here our " Story of the Niger " ends. We have
traced for you, kind reader, the history of the great
river from the days before Park down to the present
moment : we followed that great pioneer of travel in
Central Africa through the various stages of his
memorable journey ; and we have accompanied Clap-
perton and the Landers on their adventurous and
notable expeditions ; we have noted what valuable
additions to our knowledge of the mighty river
Barth's explorations yielded ; we have gone with
Captain Gallieni in his spirited mission ; and with Mr.
Joseph Thompson's interesting and successful journey
the record in the meantime closes. Other travellers
will doubtless follow Mr. Thompson, and in a few
years' time a new Story of the Niger may have to be
told. But it must necessarily be a story of a different
kind from that which has been given in these pages —
that is, it must become less and less a story of adven-
ture and peril, and toil and death, and more and more
a record of commercial enterprise and the spread of
MR. THOMPSON ON THE NIGER. 357
civilization. Every year the Niger is becoming less
and less the great river of mystery and darkness
which it was to the early explorers. The days of
Park and Clapperton and the Landers can never return,
as far as the Niger is concerned. This is a loss to the
adventurer and the sportsman — to all those who in
past times have regarded the Niger as a happy hunt-
ing-ground and a prolific birthplace of surprising
adventures — but to the world at large, let us hope, a
gain. We close with the earnest hope that the
ascendency and authority, the power and the prestige,
which England has secured on the Niger, may be
exercised to all wise and just issues ; that our com-
mercial dealings with these poor, semi - barbarous
peoples of Western and Central Africa, while stimulat-
ing and extending British industry and merchant
enterprise, may be marked by no policy, by no single
act, that shall leave a stain upon our name and
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lustrations. Post 8vo, cloth ex-
tra. Price 3s. 6d.
Martin Rattler. A Boy's Adven-
tures in the Forests of Brazil.
With Illustrations. Post 8vo,
cloth extra. Price 3s. 6d.
Ungava. A Tale of Esquimau
Land. With Illustrations. Post
8vo, cloth extra. Price 3s. 6d.
The Dog Crusoe and his Master.
A Story of Adventure on the
Western Prairies. With Illus-
trations. Post 8vo, cloth extra.
Price 3s. 6d.
These seven lively and interesting nar-
ratives by R. M. Ballantyne form a com-
plete repertory of good reading for young
people. They give a vivid and pictur-
esque description of various climes, and
depict strange adventures in many
Hudson Bay ; or, Everyday Life
in the Wilds of North America,
during a Six Years' Residence in
the Territories of the Hon. Hud-
son Bay Company. By R. M.
Ballantyne. With 29 Illustra-
tions drawn by Bayard and other
Artists, from Sketches by the
Author. Post 8vo, cloth extra.
Price 3s. 6d.
In this volume much useful informa-
tion is communicated, in the most fasci-
nating narrative style, about everyday
life in the wilds of North Ainerica.
W. H. G. Kingston's Books for Boys.
Afar in the Forest. With 41
Full-page Engravings. Post 8vo,
cloth extra. Price 3s. 6d.
A tale of settler life in North America,
full of stirring adventure.
In New Granada ; or, Heroes
and Patriots. With 36 Full-page
Engravings. Post 8vo, cloth ex-
tra. Price 3s. 6d.
A narrative of some of the episodes of
the desperate struggle of which the present
Republic of New Granada was the scene,
before its people were able to establish
their independence of Spain. Descrip-
tions of the scenery, products, and social
customs of the country are intermixed
with the stonj.
In the Rocky Mountains. A Tale
of Adventure. With 41 Engrav-
ings. Post 8vo, cloth extra.
Price 3s. 6d.
A narrative of adventure in the Far
West. Especially adapted to the taste
and delectation of youth, with numerous
incidents of travel and amusing stories,
told in afresh and invigorating style.
Kingston's Western World. Pic-
turesque Sketches of Nature and
Natural History in Northern and
Central America. With 86 En-
gravings. By W. H. G. King-
ston. Crown Svo, cloth extra.
T. NELSON AND SONS, LONDON, EDINBURGH, AND NEW YORK.
W. H. Gr. Kingston's Books for Boys.
In the Eastern Seas; or, The
Regions of the Bird of Paradise.
A Tale for Boys. With 111
Illustrations. Crown 8vo, gilt
A tale of voyage and adventure among
the islands of the Malay Archipelago,
with descriptions of scenery and objects
of natural history.
In the Wilds of Africa. With
upwards of 70 Illustrations.
Crown 8vo, gilt edges. Price 6s.
An interesting account of adventures
by a shipwrecked party who are landed
on the west coast of Africa, and make
their way to the south through many
On the Banks of the Amazon ; or,
A Boy's Journal of his Adventures
in the Tropical Wilds of South
America. Profusely Illustrated.
Crown 8vo, gilt edges. Price 6s.
In tlte course of the narrative some of
the numberless animals, as well as a few
of the most interesting of the vegetable
productions, of the Amazonian Valley
Saved from the Sea ; or, The Loss
of the Viper, and the Adventures
of her Crew in the Great Sahara.
With 30 Full-page Engravings.
Crown 8vo, gilt edges. Price 5s.
A young sailor's account of his ovm
adventures, along with three shipwrecked
The South Sea Whaler. A Story
of the Loss of the Champion, and
the Adventures of her Crew.
With upwards of 30 Engravings.
Crown 8vo, gilt edges. Price 5s.
A tale of mutiny and shipwreck in the
South Seas, the captain having his son
and daughter on board with him.
In the Wilds of Florida. With
37 Engravings. Crown 8vo, gilt
edges. Price 5s.
A tale of warfare and hunting
Twice Lost. With Thirty -six
Engravings. Crown 8vo, gilt
edges. Price 5s.
A young sailor's story of shipivreck,
and perilous adventures in the wilds oj
A Voyage Round the World.
A Tale for Boys. With 42 En-
gravings. Crown 8vo, gilt edges.
A young sailor's account of his own
adventures by sea and land, the scenes
being laid chiefly in South America, the
South Sea Islands, and Japan.
Old Jack. A Sea Tale. With
66 Engravings. Crown 8vo, gilt
edges. Price 5s.
An old sailor's account of his own ad-
ventures, during times of peace and of
war, in many parts of the world.
The Wanderers ; or Adventures
in the Wilds of Trinidad and up
the Orinoco. With 30 Full-page
Engravings. Crown 8vo, gilt
edges. Price 5s.
A Pennsylvanian merchant sets out
with his family to South America, and
meets with many adventures by sea and
land, which are related by his son.
The Young- Llanero. A Story of
War and Wild Life in Venezuela.
With 44 Engravings. Crown
8vo, gilt edges. Price 5s.
A thrilling and fascinating narrative
of adventures in South America.
The Young Rajah. A Story of
Indian Life and Adventure. With
upwards of 40 Full-page Engrav-
ings. Crown 8vo, gilt edges. 5s.
A story of the Indian Mutiny; the
hero a young Indian prince, who had
received an English education and be-
come a Christian.
My First Voyage to Southern
Seas. With 52 Engravings.
Crown 8vo, gilt edges. Price 5s.
A young sailor's story, describing Cape
Colony, Ceylon, Aden, etc.
T. NELSON AND SONS, LONDON, EDINBURGH, AND NEW YORK.
Works on Nature and Natural History.
Chips from the Earth's Crust ;
or, Short Studies in Natural
Science. By John Gibson, Natu-
ral History Department, Edin-
burgh Museum of Science and
Art ; Author of ' ' Science Glean-
ings in Many Fields," etc. With
29 Illustrations. Post 8vo, cloth
extra. Price 2s. 6d.
" A popular account of the Earth's sur-
face and formation, such as may interest
and instruct boys of an inquiring habit
of mind. It comprises chapters on earth-
quakes, ineteors, tornadoes, and other
phenomena." — Saturday Review.
Science Gleanings in Many
Fields. By John Gibson, Natu-
ral History Department, Edin-
burgh Museum of Science and
Art. With 18 Illustrations. Post
8vo, cloth extra. Price 2s. 6d.
The reader will find "Science Glean-
ings " rich in information regarding such
interesting topics as animal intelligence,
animal mimicry, the weapons of animals,
their partnerships, and their migrations.
Much information is also given regard-
ing food fishes and about animals with
which, whether as friends or foes, man
has more especially to do. Glimpses of
the past life of the globe are obtained in
the essays on the mammoth, the great
auk, and other extinct animals.
Monsters of the Sea, Legendary
and Authentic. By John Gibson,
Natural History Department,
Edinburgh Museum of Science
and Art, Author of "Science
Gleanings in Many Fields," etc.
With 16 Illustrations. Foolscap
8vo, cloth extra. Price Is. 6d.
" An instructive as well as interesting
little book, giving an account, not only
of genuine sea monsters and the huge
snakes of Brazilian rivers, but also of
real or fabled appearances of the great
sea-serpent that has yet to be caught." —
In the Polar Regions ; or, Nature
and Natural Histoiw in the Frozen
Zones. With Anecdotes and
Stories of Adventure and Travel.
4G Illustrations. Post 8vo, cloth
extra. Price 2s. 6d.
In the Tropical Regions ; or,
Nature and Natural History in
the Torrid Zone. With Anec-
dotes and Stories of Adventure
and Travel. 78 Illustrations.
Post 8vo, cloth extra. 2s. 6d.
In the Temperate Regions ; or,
Nature and Natural History in
the Temperate Zones. WitI)
Anecdotes and Stories of Adven-
ture and Travel. 72 Illustrations.
Post 8vo, cloth extra. 2s. 6d.
"In the Polar," "In the Tropical,"
and "In the Temperate Regions," are
three companion volumes, though each is
complete in itself. The full title suggests
the character of the books. They are re-
plete with information on the animal and
vegetable life of the countries described,
and abound in illustrations in elucida-
tion of the text. Good books either for
school or hxyme libraries.
Gaussen's World's Birthday. Il-
lustrated. Foolscap 8vo. 2s. 6d.
Lectures delivered to an audience of
young people, in Geneva, on the first
chapter of Genesis. The discoveries of
astronomical and geological science are
. simply explained, and harmonized with
the statements of Scripture.
Nature's Wonders ; or, How God's
Works Praise Him. By the Rev.
Richard Newton, D.D. With
53 Engravings. Post 8vo. 2s. 6d.
Addresses to young persons, on various
subjects of science and natural history,
to show "how God's works praise him."
With illustrative anecdotes and engrav-
T. NELSON AND SONS, LONDON, EDINBURGH, AND NEW YORK.
Works on Nature and Natural History.
The Homes of the Birds. By
M. K. M., Author of " The Birds
We See," etc. With 65 Illustra-
tions by Giacomelli. Post 8vo,
cloth extra. Price 2s.
A charming book of natural history,
written in a very attractive style, and
illustrated by beautiful engravings.
Jenny and the Insects ; or, Little
Toilers and their Industries.
With 26 Illustrations by Giaco-
melli. Post 8vo, cloth extra.
The insects are represented as telling
their several histories. Any child, after
reading this book, will hardly be able to
pass even a spider without being reminded
that the smallest insects have each and
oil their allotted tasks to perform.
Things in the Forest. By Mary
and Elizabeth Kirby. With
Coloured Frontispiece and Fifty
Illustrations. Royal 18mo. Is. 6d.
A book about birds ; well calculated to
encourage a taste for the study of the
natural history of the feathered tribes.
Sea-Birds and the Lessons of
their Lives. By Mrs. Surr,
Author of "Good out of Evil."
With 24 Illustrations by Gia-
comelli and other Artists. Post
8vo. Price Is.
Very pleasantly does the author de-
scribe the birds and their habits, and
gossip about them for the entertainment
and instruction of the young.
Nature's Wonders. Pictures of
Remarkable Scenes in Foreign
Lands. With Coloured Frontis-
piece and numerous Engravings.
Royal 18mo. Price Is.
An admirable book for the school lib-
rary or a school reward. The informa-
tion given is full of interest, and of just
the kind to make an intelligent lad anx-
ious to pursue the study further.
What Shall We Talk About?
A Book for the Young. With 34
Illustrations. Post 8vo, cloth
extra. Price 2s. 6d.
Scenes of Wonder in Many
Lands. Being Descriptions of
Rapids, Cascades, Waterfalls, etc.
With Coloured Frontispiece and
numerous Engravings. Royal
18mo. Price Is.
The natural wonders here described
possess imposing or striking features,
which cannot fail to make them of in-
terest to the young reader, and to foster
in him a love of reading of a kind that
will add to his store of knowledge.
Wonders of Creation.— Vol-
canoes and their Phenomena.
With Coloured Frontispiece and
numerous Engravings. Royal
18mo. Price Is.
The descriptions of the facts and pheno-
mena connected with volcanic agency are
brought xoithin the comprehension of
Wonders of the Vegetable
World. With Coloured Frontis-
piece and numerous Engravings.
Royal 18mo. Price Is.
A volume containing a large amount
of interesting information regarding some
of the more wonderful among the trees
and plants of the world. The descrip-
tions are clear and free from scientific
technicalities, and each subject is further
illustrated by well-executed pictures.
The Stars, including an Account
of Nebulce, Comets, and Meteors.
With 50 Engravings. Royal
18mo. Price Is. 6d.
A small volume containing a large
amount of information, written with a
view to serve as" a popular guide to a
knowledge of the Stars and the Sidereal
World." Scientific details are relieved
by references to Greek mythology, and
The Sun, Moon, and Planets.
Their Physical Character, Appear-
ance, and Phenomena. With 46
Engravings. Royal 18mo. Is. 6d.
A companion volume to the preceding
one, written and illustrated in the same
style, regarding the wonders of our own
T. NELSON AND SONS, LONDON, EDINBURGH, AND NEW YORK.
Tales for the Young.
Alda's Leap, and Other Stories.
By the Hon. Mrs. Greene.
Foolscap 8vo, cloth extra. Is.
" The young reader will find a great
deal to delight him. The stories are
pretty and well told, and they deserve
praise." — Scotsman.
The Babe i' the Mill, and Zanina
the Flower -Girl of Florence.
By the Hon. Mrs. Greene.
Foolscap 8vo, cloth extra. Is.
" The stories are strikingly original,
and have peculiar quaintness and fresh-
ness of incident and dialogue." — Dublin
The Adopted Brothers ; or, Blessed
are the Peacemakers. By M. E.
Clements, Author of "The Story
of the Beacon Fire," etc. Large
foolscap 8vo, cloth extra. Is.
A healthy story of two boys. How one
by fostering jealousy in his heart brings
much misery upon himself and un-
happiness to his parents. A severe
lesson clears away the mist, and the
story ends in sunshine.
Annals of the Poor. Complete
Edition, with Memoir of Legh
Richmond. Royal 18mo. Is.
A cheap edition of these well-known
Christian narratives, which so faithfully
portray true piety in humble life.
The Babes in the Basket ; or,
Daph and Her Charge. By the
Author of "Timid Lucy," etc.
With Coloured Frontispiece and
numerous Engravings. Royal
18mo. Price Is.
The Basket of Flowers ; or, Piety
and Truth Triumphant. Illus-
trated. Royal 18mo. Price Is.
A suitable story for a girl under
tuxlve. It shows thrd right principles
will sustain through greatest trials. Its
incidents are interesting without being
The Giants, and how to Fight
them. By the Rev. Richard
Newton, D.D. With Coloured
Frontispiece and numerous En-
gravings. Royal 18mo. Is.
Dr. Newton possesses in the highest de-
gree the art of interesting and instruct-
ing the young. The giants he here treats
of are Selfishness, Ill-temper, Intemper-
ance, and the like.
Godliness with Contentment is
Great Gain. With Coloured
Frontispiece. Royal 18mo. Is.
A book for little boys and girls.
The Harrington Girls ; or, Faith
and Patience. By Sophy Wix-
throp. With Coloured Frontis-
piece. Royal 18mo. Price Is.
On a very limited income three sisters
manage to maintain a comfortable and
cheerful home, and perform sundry
charitable actions which meet with their
Hope On ; or, The House that
Jack Built. With Coloured
Frontispiece and 25 Engravings.
Royal 18mo. Price Is.
The story of two orphans, forsaken and
destitute in a great city : how God helped
them, and how they helped others in the
The Story of the Lost Emerald ;
or, Overcome Evil with Good.
By Mrs. Emma Marshall, Au-
thor of "Over the Down," etc.
Large foolscap 8vo, cloth extra.
A very interesting story hangs round
this title. All who would hear of the.
valuable gem, of the various hands it
passed through, and how it was alter-
nately a curse and a blessing to its
various possessors, should read this little
T. NELSON AND SONS. LONDON, EDINBURGH, AND NEW YORK.